Selaginella apoda

This species , native to North America, is a low-growing (syn. S. apus) plant that rapidly spreads to form a yellow-green carpet. It is often used as underplanting in the greenhouse.

It cannot be grown indoors in pots because the level of humidity would be too low for healthy growth, but it does well in a miniature conservatory, plant-case or bottle garden. It does well in cool conditions and should never be exposed to direct sunlight.

Selaginella pallescens (syn. S. emmeliana)

This Selaginella , native to Mexico, has upright branches reaching a length of 30 cm (12 inch). The leaves are terminated by a spiny point; the lateral leaves are larger than those growing in the centre of the stem. It requires constantly moist, but not sodden, compost. It does well indoors. Another species well-known even to amateurs is S. lepidophylla, native to the dry regions of California and Mexico. Its stems curl into a tight brownish ball in dry conditions. When moisture is provided, by putting it in a dish with water, for example, it ‘comes to life’ by unfurling into a green rosette. This property, called hydrochasia, is retained by the plants for several years.

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