Annual Spike-moss

Scientific Name
Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) Alston
Higher Classification
Lycopodioides pygmaeum (Kaulf.) Kuntze, Lycopodium bryoides Kaulf., Lycopodium pumilum Schltdl., Lycopodium pumilum Schltdl. var. bryoides (Kaulf.) Schltdl., Lycopodium pumilum Schltdl. var. pygmaeum (Kaulf.) Schltdl., Lycopodium pygmaeum Kaulf., Selaginella bryoides (Kaulf.) Hieron., Selaginella pumila (Schltdl.) Spring, Selaginella pumila (Schltdl.) Spring var. ramosa Spring, Selaginella pumilum (Schltdl.) Spring var. subsimplex Spring
Common Names
Annual Spike-moss (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
J.E. Victor
A widespread, small annual that is easily overlooked. Although some subpopulations on the flats may be threatened by habitat loss, it also occurs in well-protected montane areas where it is not threatened and may be more common than collections indicate.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Western Cape
Cederberg to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to Port Elizabeth. Also occurring in northern Australia.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Shaded places on seasonally wet mountain slopes and flat sandy areas.
Threatened by habitat loss on the Cape lowlands, but there are also many collections from montane sites where it is not threatened. An annual species that also has some tolerance for disturbance.

Locally occasional to common in suitable habitat. Easily overlooked.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) AlstonLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)
Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) AlstonInsufficiently Known Hilton-Taylor (1996)
Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) AlstonUncertain Hall et al. (1980)

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. and Burrows, S.M. 2011. Ferns of southern Africa: A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature, Cape Town.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Hall, A.V., De Winter, M., De Winter, B. and Van Oosterhout, S.A.M. 1980. Threatened plants of southern Africa. South African National Scienctific Programmes Report 45. CSIR, Pretoria.

Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Red data list of southern African plants. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Roux, J.P. 2001. Conspectus of southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Network Report 13:1-223. SABONET, Pretoria.

Victor, J.E. and Dold, A.P. 2003. Threatened plants of the Albany Centre of Floristic Endemism, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 99:437-446.

Victor, J.E. 2011. Selaginella pygmaea (Kaulf.) Alston. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/06/14

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Distribution map

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