Selaginella uncinata - Peacock Spikemoss
Selaginella uncinata - Peacock Spikemoss

Selaginella uncinata, or Peacock Spikemoss*, is a very attractive form of Selaginella native to China. It is semi-evergreen in nature and has straw colored rambling stems with dimorphic metallic blue leaves. Plants will reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in height and will spread to 2 feet (60 cm) wide. They produce root-like rhizophores along the weak stems and are easily fragmented. They make great plants for hanging baskets or as a ground cover in the landscape (hardy in USDA zones 6-10). *Like other members of the genus Selaginella, common names with the word 'moss' and 'fern' are misleading; they are part of a quite distant ancestral line belonging to Phylum Lycophyta.

Blooming: Selaginella species are spore-producing plants that are frequently referred to as "fern allies." This group however separated early from the ferns and is much closer to lycopods and quillworts. These do not produce flowers but form inconspicuous cones (or strobili) 0.4 inch (1 cm) long and distinctly 4-keeled.

Culture: Selaginella uncinata is very easy to grow, only requiring a rich moist soil and shade. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam, with small pine bark added. The plants are grown in at least 50% shade at all times and plants are kept moist. They respond to light fertilizer applications on a weekly basis with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, we maintain this species in cool rooms in which the temperature runs about 45°F (9°C) at night. Water is somewhat restricted, but the plants are never allowed to dry thoroughly.

Propagation: Selaginella uncinata is propagated by division of large mats or by stem cuttings.

Selaginella uncinata was featured as Plant of the Week June 2-8, 2006.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.