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Selaginellaceae

Terrestrial, rarely epiphytic, small to moderate size, stems erect and rooted near the base, and creeping and rooted at intervals by slender rhizophores that branch dichotomously on reaching the ground, monopodial with alternate or +/- dichotomous branching, mostly in one plane, protostelic, the stele terete or ribbon-like, or with 2 +/- flattened steles which join at intervals. Leaves small, numerous, simple, with a single vein, sessile, with an inconspicuous basal adaxial ligule, isomorphic and spirally arranged or decussate, or, dimorphic, the smaller leaves arranged in 2 flattened rows on the upper surface, the larger leaves in 2 horizontal lateral rows (platystichous. Sporophylls +/- isomorphic, contracted, aggregated into +/- compact strobili, spirally arranged in species with spiral leaves, otherwise decussate, sporangia solitary, borne in the axils of sporophylls, bivalvate, dimorphic, megasporangia with 1 - 4 large megaspores, microsporangia with numerous minute microspores, borne in the same or different strobili; spores trilete, smooth to variously sculptured.

Distribution

A monogeneric family of c. 700 species, tropical and subtropical, some temperate. Represented in Papuasia by perhaps 100 or more poorly known species.

Literature

Alston, A.H.G. 1939. Notes on Selaginella. X. The species of the Solomon Islands. J. Bot. 77: 224 - 227.

Hieronymus, G. 1913. Beitrage zur flora von Papuasien II. 10. Neu Selaginella-Arten Papuasiens nebst allgemeinen Bemerkunger uber das Vorkommen der Selaginellen in Papuasien. Bot. Jahrb. 50: 1 - 45.

Genera in Australia and Papuasia

A family of a single genus ... Selaginella (c. 100)

Note

Many taxa have been described in Seleginella and the absence of of a modern toxonomic revision or regional geographic treatment, the Papuasian species are notoriously difficult to identify.


Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (jim.croft@environment.gov.au)