Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella versicolor Spring






Selaginella nitens Baker
Stachygynandrum versicolor (Spring) Carruth.

Common name


Plant ± erect with main stem 10–40 cm tall, glabrous, much branched in the upper part; rhizophores filiform, present only at the base, yellowish, ± 2 cm long; stolons often numerous, originating at base of stem, often well developed and 15–20 cm long, bearing small leaves; branches pinnate or bipinnate, narrowly lanceolate to ovate-elliptic in outline. Leaves glossy, dark green on the dorsal side and with metallic shine on the ventral side, strongly dimorphic save at base of main stem, with midvein almost reaching apex and margin hyaline, spaced in lower parts but imbricate in upper parts; lateral leaves 3–6 × 1.5–2.8 mm, with 2 false nerves one on each side of midrib, minutely toothed, unequilateral, the acroscopic half lanceolate, rounded at base, acute at apex, the basiscopic half oblong often rounded at base, obtuse at apex; median leaves obovate-elliptic in outline, 1.5–2.5 × 0.6-1 mm, rounded at the base, minutely toothed, apex ending abruptly in a long very narrow bristle-like point; axillary leaves ovate-lanceolate in outline, ± 2-3 × 0.8-1.5 mm, wedge-shaped at base, apex pointed, minutely toothed, with 2 false nerves as in lateral leaves. Strobili solitary at apices of ultimate branchlets, (0.5-1)6–8 × 1–3 mm; sporophylls uniform, broadly triangular, convex, ± 1-1.5 mm long, 0.7–0.8 mm wide, narrowly acute at apex, with hyaline ciliate margins; spores of two kinds.




On wet ground and on damp rocks, near waterfalls and streams in dense humid, deeply shaded forest and in riparian forests.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Bizzarri, M.P. (1985) Selaginellaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 21 - 23.
  • 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.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 27 - 28.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 27 - 28.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 19 - 20.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 10 - 11.