Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella kalbreyeri Baker






Common name


Plant suberect with main stems 8–40 cm long, with rhizophores from lower parts, 1.5–2 cm long but also sometimes bending over and rooting from tips of branchlets which gives rise to plants of very different appearance. Branchlets 2–3-pinnate, lanceolate to ovate-triangular in outline. Leaves strongly dimorphic save at base of main stem; lateral leaves ± contiguous, ± 2.5 x 1.5 mm, acute, unequilateral, with median nerve visible almost to apex; acroscopic half semi-ovate to lanceolate, rounded at the base, slightly serrulate, basiscopic half semi-elliptic to oblong, obliquely truncate at base, long-ciliate near base and serrulate towards apex; median leaves imbricate, broadly ovate, ± 1.8 x 0.8 mm, obliquely-arcuate, cordate at the base with margin hyaline, strongly ciliate at base, serrulate towards the apex, aristate, the arista curved, longer than 1/2 the limb; axillary leaves ovate-lanceolate, ± 2 x 1 mm, acute at apex, rounded and long ciliate at base. Strobili solitary at the tips of the ultimate branchlets, tetragonous, 5–6 x ± 1.5 mm. Sporophylls uniform, ovate-triangular, ± 1.5 x 0.8 mm, serrulate, long acuminate at apex.



kalbreyeri: this fern was first collected by Kalbreyer in Mt. Mopanja in Cameroon.


Crevices in vertical rock faces and soil pockets amongst rocks in moist shaded parts of silty river banks.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 24.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3. Flore du Cameroun, Pages 28 - 29.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 11 - 12.