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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Selaginella kraussiana


Selaginella kraussiana - selaginellaReproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Touchwood Books

A fern ally. Forms extensive dense carpets in damp shaded sites, with small cones producing spores. Leaves small, in four rows on the stem.

  • Leaves Sterile leaves of two sizes. The two lateral rows have spreading oval leaves, 3-4 mm long, with pointed tips. The two upper rows have leaves 2-3 mm long flattened against the stems and with tapering tips.
  • Stems Creeping, irregularly-branched, rooting at the nodes, forming a loose mat.
  • Roots Long fine aerial roots from nodes.
  • Spores Borne on stalkless, rounded cones up to 1 cm long, laterally placed on the stems.


Damp forest floors, stream banks, gardens, nurseries, shade houses and ferneries.


Frequent throughout NI in lowland sites. Scattered SI localities in Nelson, Westland, Canterbury and Otago. Originally from central and southern Africa.


Presumably introduced as an attractive garden ground cover plant, but now common as a weed in many areas. Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Selaginella (Gr.) = little clubmoss; kraussiana, after Ferdinand C. Krauss, who introduced it to Europe.

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Last updated: July 13, 2014