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Old 03-08-2012, 08:43 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Selaginella, subgenus Tetragonostachys

It was several years ago while studying the chaparral for a course taught by Dr. C. H. Muller, I began to notice some moss-like plant that was growing out from underneath rocks in the Sierra Madre of Northern Santa Barbara County. In time, in 1973, I did a rather informal investigation of this plant that I later identified as Selaginella bigelovii in its habitat along the upper slopes of the southeast banks of the Cuyama River.
It was a very interesting habitat consisting of very loose shale-like rocks and assorted gravels with large boulders and outcrops with intermittent appearances of Eriogonum, Silene, Dudleya, Yucca, and grass species, with oaks appearing at the tops of the slopes. What was remarkable to me at the time was the fact that this plant, while green and mossy looking during Spring, would become a
dead looking, dried up, and curled up mass of brownish stems that somehow rejuvenated upon the occasion of rain.
I sought to understand this and after a particularly heavy series of rain storms, I drove out to the area and was able to find a nice sized clump of the Selaginella that had been washed loose from the slope. I took it home as I wanted to see that if I were to water it well and then let it dry out completely if it would come back to life. It did not!
Apparently there was much more going on beneath the surface of its habitat than eye could reconnoiter!
It was not until several years later that I had the opportunity to try and see if I could find out just what enabled the species to survive in such a dynamic environment when I stumbled upon the offerring of Selaginella bigelovii for sale by an online retailer of native ferns up in Washington state.
What follows are journals that I have developed for each of the species that I have been privileged to investigate and been able to cultivate.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf CNPS overview of site.pdf (455.0 KB, 1513 views)

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 04-06-2012 at 05:55 PM. Reason: To add summary of 1973 investigation
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:56 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Selaginella bigelovii

I was able to procure plants from two distinct populations of this species. I developed the following.
Form typical of Cuyama River population from San Diego County
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s...eloviiSDp1.jpg
Stem and leaf characteristics, click page 2 link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s...eloviiSDp2.jpg
Strobili and sporophyll characteristics, click page 3 link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s...eloviiSDp3.jpg
Mission Gorge (San Diego County) population overview, click page 4 link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s...oviiSDMGp1.jpg
Mission Gorge population general characteristics, click page 5 link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s...oviiSDMGp2.jpg

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 08-02-2017 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:43 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Selaginella oregana

Of the 10 native Californian species of Selaginella, Selaginella oregana is the most distinct in that it occurs as an epiphyte whereas all other species are strictly terrestrial. Perhaps it is more closely allied to the ancestry of the species that arose from epiphytic lycophytes as S. oregana often has vegetative strobili along the course of its pendant stems.
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP1.jpg
Over-view of plant, click link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP2.jpg
Leaf characteristics, click link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP3.jpg
Strobili over-view, click link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP4.jpg
Regular strobili, click link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP5.jpg
Vegetative strobili, click link below
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s.../oreganaP6.jpg

While naturally occurring as an epiphytic and occasionally as a terrestrial, the species can be easily grown as a pot plant.

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 08-02-2017 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:23 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default A short key to the California native selaginellas

While taxonomy can be interesting, often the keys that are employed can prove to be rather laborious and at times almost cryptic. I have found this to be the case with the keys to the species of Selaginella.
To counter the confusion of using current keys I have developed this very short and easy to use key to the species of the subgenus Tetragonostachys that occur within the state of California.
To view the one page key click on the link to the attachment.
Please note that I have revised the key on the treatment of S. hansenii as of March 22, 2012.

I have added a New Key which is more comprehensive than the Short Key and is designed to provide a more exact keying.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf California Short Key to species.pdf (53.5 KB, 1382 views)
File Type: pdf California New Key to Tetragonostachys species.pdf (48.0 KB, 1448 views)

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 03-24-2012 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Updated the Short Key of California Tetragonostachys and added New Key
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:32 PM
DanH DanH is offline
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Default

Well this is very cool. Looks like somebody is a Selaginella expert! I have not yet paid much attention to these plants, but maybe I should.

Have you tried propagating these from spores?

Do you have any planted in your yard, or do you just keep them potted?

Oh, and that key is pretty awesome. Looks simple enough. I might have to try it out :-)
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:45 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default

Thanks Dan. I have not tried to propagate from spores. It is much easier just to divide up the plants but I have not really done much of that either. Only with one species, S. underwoodii, in an experiment to see how the plant responded to different types of potting mixes as I tried to learn how to grow these babies. Several failures but I have found the right potting mix formula which I will be posting up here sometime this month, if not this week.
Unless you have a scree or rock garden in your yard these plants are not really for regular gardening. Also, though I believe they might survive our hard waters if they have excellent drainage, they need at the least reverse-osmosis water, or distilled, deionized or rain water.

Let me know how you fare with the key. It really requires that you know about the physical characteristics of the plant out front as well as where they come from. A major reference is at efloras. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.as...axon_id=302114
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:39 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default The other native species

Currently I am growing just the five native species of Selaginella. However, there are five other species within the state that I will be adding in with information and pertinent links as may arise in my searching.
These five species are:
S. asprella
S. cinerascens
S. eremophila
S. leucobryoides
S. watsonii

As information on these species is rather sketchy and quality images may be
lacking I will add explanations to those images and web sites to provide more clarity and my own beliefs which may run counter to some of the information shown at such sites.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:59 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Selaginella asprella

Selaginella asprella appears to be a species that is limited in its distribution to the mountains which border the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of southern California. Its northernmost limit appear to be the mountains that border Antelope Valley in the Transverse Ranges. However, several maps indicate a
presence in Tulare County. I believe that this reported occurrence is in error and represents a mis-identified sample of S. hansenii. The map at the Jepson Online Herbarium shows this discrepancy.

Jepson Online

Don Davis has a number of excellent photos that he has posted at flickr on
the species and its habitat.
Habitat
Colony of the species
Close up of the species

Keir Morse has just made a fantastic series of photographs of the species found in the San Jacinto Mountains, east of Los Angeles. To see the 23 images please click on this link.

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 08-21-2017 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:00 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Selaginella cinerascens

Selaginella cinerascens is a regional endemic that appears confined to southwestern San Diego County and adjacent northern Baja California. It is generally called Ashy Spike Moss because when it dries down it becomes a grayish color. However, it can be confused with S. asprella which is commonly called Bluish Spike Moss but which also dries down to a grayish color. For this reason I believe that currently reported occurrences of S. cinerascens on the eastern side of the Peninsular Mountain Ranges is, in fact, S. asprella. Calflora map of S. cinerascens and Calflora map of S. asprella illustrate the overlap of ranges and the general trend of S. asprella to be inland away from the ocean in the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges (its reported occurrence in Orange Co. is from 1923 and is probably S. bigelovii).

The species is currently under threat of continuing habitat loss due to human development. Researchers at San Diego State have conducted studies on its growth and reintroduction but these studies were not carried further than the following links (as far as I know). The species really needs to be cultivated and held in cultivation for reintroduction into managed (exercising full environmental control over the habitat despite natural periods of drought or unseemly weather patterns) reserves. The SDS studies can be read at:
The 1996-1997 Restoration Study
The 1997 Restoration Study
The 2000 Follow Up to the 1997 Restoration Study
Please note that in making their assessments of the vitality of S. cinerascens the students failed to consider that in developing an approach at a methodology of cultivation that they relied upon the research done upon Selaginella species that are members of the Stachygynandrum, an entirely different type of Selaginella and upon apparently techniques used in the propagation of mosses. Both are entirely unsuitable for the propagation of members of the Tetragonostachys.

Let me introduce you to this charming little plant:
Rolf Muertter has an excellent close up of a colony of the species on Flickr
while it is green! If you look carefully strobili are visible throughout the image, they are the broad leafed upright structures (part of one is visible on the bottom about 1/4 right of the lower left corner).
S. cinerascens-green
The San Diego State study generated an image of a colony when it was green and when it was dried.
S. cinerascens-green/dry states
A commonly encountered type of image of the species at CalFlora
S. cinerascens in partially dry state

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 05-15-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:17 PM
terrestrial_man terrestrial_man is offline
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Default Seleginella eremophila

Like the other desert-montane dwelling species of Selaginella (S. asprella, S. leucobryoides, and S. watsonii) S. eremophila inhabits fairly remote and generally inhospitable habitats in mountains which are within or bordering upon the Sonoran Desert of California, Arizona, and Baja California. Known areas of collection of the species are pinpointed on this map.
These habitats experience extreme temperature changes, even within a single day, coupled with a low rainfall profile that tends to indicate the merit of the occasional summer monsoon storm and its extensive run-off which flood over the steep
ridges across the rocky slopes in which S. eremophila can be found inhabiting the shade of boulders.

Keir Morse has recently posted a series of excellent photograhs of this remote species. Surprisingly it bears a close resemblence to Selaginella hansenii.
Be sure to click on each of the ten images to get a closer look at this rarely seen species.

Last edited by terrestrial_man; 08-21-2017 at 07:54 PM.
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