Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella nubigena J.P.Roux






Common name


Plants decumbent; stems with apices ascending, old stems with scattered rhizoids; branching system diffuse, not or weakly apically dominant, 2 or 3-furcate; branch ends curling inwards when dry. Leaves dimorphic, upper surface yellow-green when fresh, undersurface creamy green; median (dorsal) leaves overlapping, asymmetrically ovate-rectangular in outline, margins subentire or with few fine serrations, 1.5-1.7 x 0.7-0.8 mm; lateral leaves asymmetrically oblong-elliptic in outline, apex pointed, base adnate, margin subentire and with a widely spaced ciliate appearance, 1.9-2.1 x 0.8-1.0 mm. Strobili short, up to 3 mm long, moderately dimorphic; sporophylls slightly shorter than the sterile leaves.



nubigena: cloud-loving, this fern is endemic to the high altitudes of the Drakensberg in South Africa.


Restricted to basalt, on bare walls or in cliff crevices; or on sandstone cliffs.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 90 - 91. (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 26.