Description: Plants terrestrial or rarely epiphytic, annual or perennial; rhizome usually long-creeping, subterranean or running over the surface of the ground; aerial parts erect or creeping.
Leaves simple and scale-like, ligulate, spirally arranged or in 4 rows, all alike or 2-ranked with the dorsal leaves reduced in size and appressed to the stem.
Leaves bearing sporangia (sporophylls) usually arranged in cone-like strobili; sporangia of 2 kinds, producing spores of 2 sizes.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 700 species, cosmopolitan, chiefly tropical regions. Australia: c. 11 species, all States.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Aerial stems upright; leaves all similar||2|
|Aerial stems prostrate, creeping, repeatedly branched; leaves dimorphic||Selaginella kraussiana|
|2||Plant annual; rhizome lacking; stems all erect, mostly 2–5 cm long, simple or forked once or twice; branchlets slender||Selaginella gracillima|
|Plant perennial; rhizome subterranean, much branched; stems erect, 5–38 cm long, simple or with rather rigid lateral branches|
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