Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella yemensis (Sw.) Spring ex Decne






Lycopodium yemense Swartz
Selaginella somaliensis Bak.
Selaginella arabica Bak.
Lycopodioides somaliense (Bak.) Kuntze
Lycopodium sanguinolentum Forssk., non L.

Common name


Plant prostrate sometimes mat-forming, with wiry creeping stems and rhizophores from lower parts; branches mostly short and suberect, recurved at tips when dry. Leaves dimorphic, slightly fleshy, with white margins; lateral leaves oblong-elliptic in outline, apex rounded to slightly aristate, margin ciliate, 1.3–3 x 0.4–1.25 mm; median leaves obliquely ovate in outline, more spreading, shortly ciliate all round, scarcely to strongly aristate, smaller, 1–2 x 0.5–1 mm; all leaves obliquely oblong near point of attachment. Strobili (2–)2.5–4 mm long; sporophylls ± dimorphic with white margin, the larger ovate-triangular, convex-plicate, 1.5–1.6 mm long, 1–1.2 mm wide, ciliate on both sides and sometimes puberulous on outer surface, acuminate and shortly aristate at the apex, narrowed to slightly emarginate base; smaller obliquely narrowly triangular ovate, ± 1 mm long, 0.5 mm wide, ± convex, ciliate aristate.



yemensis: from Yemen, where this plant was first discovered.


Crevices in bare rock in Commiphora-Acacia-Sterculia etc. woodland, steep limestone valleys.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Hedberg, I; Friis, Ib & Persson, E (2009) Lycopodiaceae to Pinaceae.Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, vol.1 Page 16.
  • 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 29.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 9. (Includes a picture).