Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella pallescens (C.Presl.) Spring






Lycopodium pallescens Presl

Common name


Stems erect, tufted, 10–40 cm tall, the branches ± curling inwards when dry and straightening again when moist (resurrection plant); basal part short, unbranched; rhizophores tufted at base; whole plant discolorous, being paler on the underside. Leaves distinctly white-margined; stem leaves uniform, overlapping, broadly ovate in outline, apex tapering to a bristle-like point or pointed, base slightly emarginate, long-ciliate on inner margin, 3 x 2 mm; lateral leaves of branches ovate in outline, falcate and acute, apex tapering or with a bristle-like point, base auriculate or not, margins ciliate towards base and serrulate towards apex, 1.5–4 x 0.8–2.2 mm; axillary leaves ovate-lanceolate, (1.5–)1.8–3.5(–4) mm long, (0.5–)0.8–1.9 mm wide, acute, acuminate or aristate at the apex, auriculate or not at the base, margins ciliate towards base; median leaves ovate-ellipticin outline, apex acute to abruptly acuminate-aristate, base rounded to auriculate, margin entire to ciliate, smaller, 1.3–1.8(–3.5) x 0.5–1.8 mm. Strobili 5–9 mm long; sporophylls uniform, narrowly ovate, ± 2 x 1.5 mm, apex with a bristle-like point, ciliate towards base.


Naturalised locally in Usambara mountains, Amani, Tanzania.


pallescens: ashen with the suffix -escens meaning becoming; hence "becoming ashen", referring to the pale-coloured underside.


Rain forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, N Mexico to N Colombia, Surinam, Venezuela.

Distribution in Africa

Tanzania .

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 26.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 15.