29. Selaginella lepidophylla (Hooker & Greville) Spring in Martius et al., Fl. Bras. 1(2): 126. 1840.
Lycopodium lepidophyllum Hooker & Greville, Icon. Filic. 2(9): 162. 1830
Plants terrestrial or on rock, forming rosettes. Main (central) stem spirally compact, branched, branches 2--3-forked, prostrate, flat when moist, curling inward when dry (ball-like), not articulate, weakly puberulent. Rhizophores borne on upperside of stems, restricted to basal part of rosette, 0.3--0.5 mm diam. Leaves thick and stiff. Lateral leaves yellow to reddish on abaxial surface, green on adaxial surface, overlapping, ascending, deltate to deltate-ovate, 2--2.2 X (1--)1.7--1.8 mm; base nearly cordate, pubescent; margins transparent, ciliate toward base, dentate to ciliate toward apex; apex rounded. Median leaves broadly ovate, 1.5--1.7 X 1.4--1.5 mm; base nearly cordate to truncate, pubescent; margins transparent, ciliate toward base, dentate to ciliate toward apex; apex abruptly acuminate (short-cuspidate) to obtuse. Strobili solitary, 3--12 mm; sporophylls monomorphic, deltate-ovate, slightly keeled, keel not dentate, base pubescent, margins transparent, short-ciliate at base, denticulate toward apex, apex acuminate to acute.
Dry places on rocky soil or on limestone talus; of conservation concern; 900--2000 m; N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico.
Selaginella lepidophylla is sold as a commonly grown house plant and is cultivated in greenhouses. When dry, lateral branches of desiccated plants curl inward; upon rehydration, they uncurl and resume normal growth, even after years of being dry. Among the species in the flora, it is allied to S . pilifera .