Selaginella pilifera A. Braun

Family: Selaginellaceae

Vernacular Name: Resurrection Plant

Synonym: Selaginella pilifera A. Braun var. pringlei (Baker) Morton

Distinguishing Features: Plants terrestrial or growing on rocks, forming rosettes. The long-bristled leaf apex is unique among New World xerophytic members of the subgenus Stachygynandrum.

Distribution: New Mexico, Texas, northern Mexico.

Habitat: Dry rocky soil, rock crevices, limestone rock, cliff faces.

Plants Seen or Cited: 14 April 1987, NMNHP in New Mexico.
Herbarium specimens: 10 Aug 1946, D.S. Correll in Texas, 13770 (MO); C.H. Mueller in Texas 8257 (MO); 15 June 1943, U.T. Waterfall in Texas 4546 (MO); 18 July 1931, J.A. Moore and J.A. Steyermark in Texas 3502 (MO); 28 July 1943, U.T. Waterfall in Texas 5393 (MO); 18 Aug 1916, M.S. Young s.n. in Texas (MO);
14 July 1907, C.G. Pringle in Mexico 76079 (UNM); Summer 1935, E.F. Castetter in New Mexico 6971 (UNM); 18 April 1952, E.F. Castetter in New Mexico 7244 (UNM); 15 Sept. 1982, P.J. Knight in New Mexico 74439, 72081 (UNM)

Comments: Listed as "of conservation concern" in Flora of North America; Described as "occasional" in Lellinger (1985).
Its closest relative is S. gypsophila, which is from Nuevo Leon, Mexico and differs by having obtuse leaf apices. Further studies are needed to determine if S. gypsophila represents a well-differentiated species or an environmental variant of S. pilifera (Flora of North America, 1993)

Morton (1939) divided the species into var. pilifera with the branches including the leaves ca. 3 mm wide and the terminal setate ca. 1/3 as long as the leaves and var. pringlei with the branches including the leaves ca. 4 mm wide and the terminal setae ca. ½ as long as the leaves.

Status: Need more documentation of existing sites.
Current NMNHP/TNC rank: G4 S2
Apparently not rare. Considering its range and distribution the NMNHP/TNC rank of G4 may be raised to G3.

Important Literature:

J. of Botany, British and Foreign 21: 3 (1883)

Flora of North America Volume 2 p. 59-60 (1993)

D.B. Lellinger. 1985. A field manual of Ferns and Fern-Allies of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Inst. Press Wash. DC.

C.V Morton. 1939. Our southwestern Resurrection-Plants. Amer. Fern J. 29:14-16

Information Compiled By: Juanita A. R. Ladyman, 1998