Selaginella kraussiana

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Epithet is after Christian Krauss (1812-1890), the German naturalist who collected the type plant in Africa. subevergreen to evergreen, creeping. Zones 7 to 10.

description: Long-creeping, prostrate, branching stems are bright green with sprays of lighter green fanlike foliage leading the forward edges outward. The main stems and branches are trimmed with small foliar spikes of two different sizes. Translucent roots are promptly produced under the entire expanding carpet.

range and habitat: Originally from Africa, this species has spread from there to the far reaches of temperate zones including Europe, North America, and New Zealand. It has es

caped from cultivation here and there along the way including New Zealand and the U.S. Southeast. It can become weedy and invasive.

culture and comments: This is an easily established walking ground cover in moist shady understories where it will spread under (and sometimes over) the companion ferns. In severe winters it turns a ghastly gray, but rejuvenates, like the rest of us, with the arrival of spring. In greenhouses, beware, as it can take control in moist pots and flats. Fortunately it is easily removed and transferred to a more appropriate location.

'Aurea' (golden-yellow) has lime-green rather than kelly-green foliage.

'Brownii' produces small round rosettes of green posies. It is extremely attractive, but not as hardy as the type and best in protected Zone 8 or better yet Zones 9 and 10.

'Gold Tips' has bright golden-tipped foliage producing an attractive two-toned mat.

Selaginella moellendorffii Gemmiferous spikemoss Epithet is after Otto von Mollendorf (1848-1903). Evergreen, 6 to 15 in. (15 to 38 cm).Zones 6 to 10.

description: This branching, lax upright creeps, with non-invasive good manners, in woodland litter where it forms a small colony of treelike triangular foliage. Approximately one-third to one-half of the reddish stem is naked. Above that the stem is green and 10 to 15 branches subdivide into small twigs of compressed linear leaves. In mature plants the ultimate branch tips produce gemmae (small conelike fertile structures), which drop and sprout in favorable conditions (especially in greenhouses). Foliage color varies from spring greens to the warm reds of fall in cooling weather.

range and habitat: From China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, this species inhabits partially shaded hillside slopes.

culture and comments: Loose, friable soil is the best choice for encouraging gemmiferous spikemoss to spread. It likes partial shade, is not drought tolerant, and will burn in too much sun. Mulch is necessary to preserve the evergreen character in the cold temperatures of Zone 6 gardens. Otherwise, it will die down for the winter, but rejoin the garden community in the spring.

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