Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) Alston






Lycopodium pygmaeum Kaulf.
Lycopodium pumilum Schltdl. var. pygmaeum (Kaulf.) Schltdl.
Lycopodioides pygmaeum (Kaulf.) Kuntze
Lycopodium bryoides Kaulf.
Selaginella pumilum Schltdl.
Selaginella pumila (Schltdl.) Spring

Common name


Plants small, annual; stem erect, thread-like, usually sparsely branched, 20-80 mm. Leaves monomorphic, widely spaced, spreading, often appearing to be grouped in pairs, ovate in outline, apex pointed, mucronate, base broadly cuneate to truncate, midrib apperent, margin entire, ± 1.5 x 0.9 mm, pale green, turning yellowish with age. Strobili 3-15 mm long; sporophylls spreading, somewhat reflexed, ovate in outline, apex with a brisle-like point, c. 2.5 x 1 mm, with the midrib darker than the rest of the blade.



pygmaea: dwarf, referring to the small size of this species.


Shaded earth banks in ericoid scrub on steep mountainsides, in seasonally wet, flat, sandy areas.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, northern Australia.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 21 - 22. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 78 - 79. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 150 - 151. (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 27.