Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella vogelii Spring

Photo: C. Jongkind

Photo: C. Jongkind






Selaginella dinklageana Sadeb.
Selaginella africana A.Braun.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, pink, subtetragonal, leafy, with erect stems; rhizophores limited to the basal, prone part of the stem, 4-8 cm long, finely pubescent, dark streaked, ventral, most at right angles to the rhizome. Stems erect up to 50 cm long and 3 mm in diameter, spaced about 2 cm apart, usually pink when dry, rounded, subglabrous, sometimes rooting at the top; branches pubescent, forming an angle of 45 °, triangular or deltoid outline, 2-3 pinnate, the basal pair of branches subopposed. Leaves of the main stem homomorphic, subopposite, distant, often more than 1 cm apart, symmetrical, ovate-deltoid in outline, apex pointed, base slightly auriculate, margin toothed, 3 x 2 mm; leaves of the branches heteromorphic, lateral leaves spaced, 3-4 x 1.25-2 mm, often rolled up when dry, apex rounded, upper half of leaf semi-oval, entire, lower half narrowly oblong, serrulate at base, midrib not reaching the top; axillary leaves as long as the lateral ones, entire, elliptic, apex rounded; median leaves spaced apart on the main stem and sometimes subopposed, regularly attenuated and imbricated on the ultimate ramifications, 1.5-2 x 0.6-0.7 mm, ovate, falcate, ciliolate on the inner face, entire on the outer face, acuminate, not awned, outer face long decurrent; axillary leaves 2 x 0.8 mm, subelliptic, apex pointed, base truncate, margin entire or rarely ciliate. Strobili solitary at the tips of the twigs, about 0.5-1 cm long by 1.75-2 mm in diameter, paler green than the leaves. Sporophylls homomorphic, 1-1.2 x 0.7-0.8 mm, ovate-deltoid, acuminate, acute, with two short quadrangular auricles at the base, loosely ciliolate, lighter green than the leaves; heterosporus.


According to Roux (2009) also in Kenya and Tanzania but not mentioned in Flora Tropical East Africa.


vogelii: type was collected by Julius Rudolph Theodor Vogel (1812-1841), German traveller, explorer, botanist and plant collector, and co-director of the Botanical Gardens of Bonn.


Undergrowth, edges and regrowth of dense humid forests and riparian forests, near waterfalls and steep banks of rivers.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, introduced in Brazil Southeast, Sri Lanka.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone.

Growth form



  • Bizzarri, M.P. (1985) Selaginellaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 18 - 21. (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. Pages 28 - 29.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 24 - 27.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 18 - 19.