Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella plana (Poir.) Hieron.






Lycopodium planum Poir.

Common name


Stems erect, ascending or climbing from a trailing base (0.4–)2–3 m long; upper branched part frond-like, up to 60 cm long and wide; lower stems with leaves very scattered or almost absent, oblong-elliptic, ± 4 x 2 mm, rounded at apex, auriculate-cordate at base, entire. Leaves dimorphic; lateral leaves oblong-elliptic in outline, subfalcate and ± rounded to subacute at the apex, with basal auricle on acroscopic half, abruptly truncate or rounded at base of basiscopic half, entire, 3–4.8 x 1–1.8 mm; axillary leaves broadly to narrowly ovate in outline, acuminate at the apex, with 2 equal auricles at the base, entire, 2.2–4.8 x 1.6–2.5 mm; median leaves ovate-elliptic to ovate-dimidiate, ± rounded to subacute at apex with distinct auricle at base on outer side, margins entire, 2–2.3 x 0.5–1 mm. Strobili 6–8(–26) mm long; sporophylls equal, ovate-lanceolate to ovate-triangular, ± 2 mm long, 1 mm wide, acuminate at the apex, carinate, with pale margins, ciliolate towards base.


Introduced in Tanzania, Zanzibar but not fully naturalized.


plana: flat surfaces.


Roadsides and secundary vegetation in rain forest area.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, India, Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra and Amboina; introduced and naturalised in Central and S America, West Indies, Philippines.

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 13.