Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella kalbreyeri Baker






Common name


Plant sub-erect, often curved and rooting at the tip, with main stem up to 40 cm long and 2–2.5 mm in diam., pale green or straw-yellow, brownish in the last branches, branched; rhizophores 1.5–2 cm long, filiform, pale greenish, forming a right angle with the main stem or reflexed; branches diverging about 45º, 2-3-pinnate, ovate-triangular to lanceolate in outline. Leaves strongly dimorphic save at base of main stem; lateral leaves ± contiguous, ± 2.5 x 1.5 mm, apex pointed, base 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, base ordate, 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, apex pointed, base rounded and long ciliate. 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; with 2 kind of spores.



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, in dense equatorial forest and in the forest galleries.

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.


  • Bizzarri, M.P. (1985) Selaginellaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 23 - 26. (Includes a picture).
  • Hedberg, I; Friis, Ib & Persson, E (2009) Lycopodiaceae to Pinaceae.Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, vol.1 Page 16. (Includes a picture).
  • 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.