Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella umbrosa Lem. ex Hieron.






Selaginella erythropus (Mart.) Spring var. major Spring

Common name


Plant erect, up to 30–40 cm tall with bright red main stem which is unbranched for up to 25 cm; branched terminal part irregularly and densely flabellate, up to about 25 cm long and wide; rhizophores few at base of stem. Leaves dimorphic; lateral leaves ovate-lanceolate in outline, falcate, not auriculate, the basiscopic half truncate to geniculate at base, the margin entire or subentire sometimes with 3 cilia near base, the acroscopic half rounded at the base, acute or acuminate at the apex, ciliate at the base, 1.5–3.5 x 0.9–2.3 mm; axillary leaves ovate-lanceolate in outline, not auriculate, rounded at the base, acute or acuminate at the apex, margins ciliate at the base, 1.5–3 x 0.8–1.5 mm; median leaves with narrow white margins, obliquely ovate, 1–3 mm long, 0.9–1.5 mm wide, subcordate at base or with unequal auricles, acute or acuminate at the apex, margins entire to serrulate with 3–5 cilia at base of exterior auricle. Strobili 11–14 mm long, ± 2 mm wide; sporophylls uniform, ovate-lanceolate, convex-plicate, with pale margins, acuminate at apex, toothed towards apex, ciliate towards base.


Tanzania, adventive.



Naturalised in rain forest area in Amani, Tanzania.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Yucatan and Belize to colombia, also W Indies.

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 28.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 12 - 13.