Selaginella kraussiana


I was charging around Eastside Marketplace recently, buying chips and sardines and onions and other necessary things, when I made a detour through the garden section.



And I found the most adorable little display of potted plants.



They were frothy little yellow-green fellows, with fern-like fronds, tipped with silver.  They were labeled “FROSTY FERN.”



But I recognized them right away.   They were Selaginella (sp. kraussiana).  



I purchased one immediately.



Maybe you’ve seen them.  They are cousins of the “resurrection plant” found in souvenir shops and joke-shops: those dried brown masses that you immerse in water until they unfold into (unattractive) masses of living foliage. 



Selaginella are club-mosses, actually, although they’re part of a group called the “fern allies,” because they resemble ferns.  I used to find their relatives when I was a kid, up in the Cascades, kicking around when my family was picking huckleberries; they’re stiff, low-growing, intricate little plants. 



I find, when I look them up online, that Selaginella is an invasive species in New Zealand, a pest, a nuisance.  I don’t think they’ve reached the nuisance level here in the USA: I don’t think the climate allows them to grow so freely.



I brought my little Selaginella home, and repotted it right away.  It is bright and charming.  My south-facing window might be a little bright for it (club mosses prefer dim light), but we’ll see.



I looked online to find out how to care for my new Selaginella, and kept finding comments like this: “I am very taken by these small plants.  I am charmed by them.  I don’t know why.”



I think I know why. They are modest and attractive, compact and neat.They brrr nicely against your hand when you touch them (unlike my cacti, which snag my clothes and wound me constantly).  They are green and fresh. 



And they need constant care: they need moisture and shade. 



I just don’t hope I don’t kill it.



Pray for it, kids.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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