Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella molliceps Spring






Selaginella molliceps Spring. var. major A.Braun ex Hieron.
Lycopodioides molliceps (Spring.) Kuntze
Stachygynandrum rubricaule (R.Sim) Carruth
Selaginella rubricaulis R.Sim var. angolensis A.Braun ex Kuhn

Common name


Plant suberect, up to 20 cm tall; stems sometimes reddish and fleshy in life but pale yellow when dry, branched from the base and bearing roots from the lower third. Leaves dimorphic, dark green and said to have metallic reflections ventrally; lateral leaves ovate-oblong in outline, apex pointed, base unequal, 2.5–3 x 1–1.3 mm; median leaves elliptic-lanceolate in outline, slightly curved, apex with a narrow bristle-like point 1/4–1/3 (–1/2) of the lamina, base subtruncate, margin minutely ciliate or toothed, 1.2–1.9 x 0.6–0.7 mm. Strobili ± 5 x 2.5 mm; sporophylls dimorphic, dorsal green, oblong, often rounded at apex, serrulate or finely ciliolate, carinate, the keel hyaline ciliolate, 1.3–1.4 x 0.8–0.9 mm; ventral hyaline, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate-aristate at the apex, ciliolate, 1–1.2 x 0.5–0.6 mm.




On Mt. Elgon escarpment rocks above Euphorbia zone, ? swamp forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comores, Principe, São Tomé.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, Uganda.

Growth form



  • 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 25.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 21 - 22. (Includes a picture).