Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Selaginella watsonii

Higher Taxonomy
Family: SelaginellaceaeView Description 

Stem: wiry, generally rooting adventitiously [or not], branching variable, generally not fragile when dry. Leaf: many, simple, overlapped, appressed, small, +- scale-like, 1-veined, generally grooved abaxially [or not] nearly to tip, generally +- of 2 kinds ("under-leaves" under main stem, "over-leaves" over it). Cone: paired or 1, terminal, generally 4-sided, fertile leaves not like sterile, generally strongly keeled. Sporangia: 1 per leaf axil, 2 kinds, male (generally more distal in cones, spores many, small), female (spores (1)4, large, generally orange-yellow).
Genera In Family: 1 genus, +- 700 species: worldwide, generally tropics, warm temperate.
eFlora Treatment Author: Paul Wilson & Thomas J. Rosatti
Scientific Editor: Alan R. Smith, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: SelaginellaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SPIKE-MOSS

Etymology: (Latin: small Selago, ancient name for some Lycopodium) Note: Some cultivated as groundcover, curiosity: Selaginella kraussiana (Kunze) A. Braun; Selaginella lepidophylla (Hook. & Grev.) Spring, resurrection plant. Hand lens, generally at +- 20×, required for leaves (shape, margin, awn at tip), cones. Selaginella kraussiana may be naturalized in California, differs from native California taxa in leaves lacking abaxial groove.
Unabridged Note: All native California taxa in subgenus Tetragonostachys.

Selaginella watsonii Underw.
Habit: Plant in shaggy cushions, dense to +- open but branches generally close enough to +- obscure internodes, shoots with a robust, braided appearance; green aging +- orange-tan then gray. Leaf: of main stems 1.5--4 mm, 0.4--0.7 mm wide, lance-linear to oblong, decurrent, base glabrous; distance from end of abaxial groove to base of awn generally > 1/3 maximum leaf width, tips of leaves of sterile stems +- thickened around end of abaxial groove; awn 0.2--0.5 mm, generally entire, rigid. Cone: 5--35 mm.
Ecology: Open rocky sites, conifer forest, alpine; Elevation: 1350--4100 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR (Trinity Alps), SNH, TR, PR, n SNE, W&I, n DMtns (Telescope Peak); Distribution Outside California: to Oregon, Montana, Utah.
eFlora Treatment Author: Paul Wilson & Thomas J. Rosatti
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botanical illustration including Selaginella watsonii


Citation for this treatment: Paul Wilson & Thomas J. Rosatti 2017. Selaginella watsonii, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 23, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 23, 2017.

Geographic subdivisions for Selaginella watsonii:
KR (Trinity Alps), SNH, TR, PR, n SNE, W&I, n DMtns (Telescope Peak);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.