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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.

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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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Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

Reproduced from Common Weeds of New Zealand:

External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

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Last updated: March 1, 2021