Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Peacock Moss, Peacock Spikemoss, Love-in-a-Tangle, Blue Spikemoss
Selaginella uncinata

Family: Selaginellaceae
Genus: Selaginella (sell-lah-gi-NEL-uh) (Info)
Species: uncinata (un-sin-NA-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Lycopodium uncinatum
Synonym:Selaginella aristata
Synonym:Selaginella caesia
Synonym:Selaginella eurystachya

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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3 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive yodecat On Aug 20, 2014, yodecat from Dallas, TX wrote:

Most Selaginella require high humidity and damp leaf mold to do their best; uncinata is no exception. Never it dry out. Dappled shade is about all the light it can stand. It does not like sustained temperatures above 80F. With light constant feed it grows rapidly.

I propagate it by breaking it into short pieces and laying them on clean long Sphagnum in an enclosed container.

Harden the growing pieces by gradually removing the lid of the container, cut the growing pieces with some sphagnum and transplant to a moist shady area and stand back! If it's happy it will grow very rapidly.

So: moist soil (forest duff is perfect) and high humidity. It will stand temperatures up to 90F for brief periods and I'm told that it's good in up to zone 7b.

Positive gbirdie On Sep 20, 2012, gbirdie from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

I have loved this in a small pot my son gave me about 4 years ago. Beautiful streamers about 3 feet long. This year it seems to be dying back rather early. Does it have a shelf life?

Negative Cretaceous On Mar 25, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Selaginella uncinata is native to China, and is widely cultivated elsewhere.

I have tried several times growing this species in a shady spot outdoors here, but the plants don't survive for long (probably because of a lack of humidity).

However, I'm sure that it would make a wonderful indoor or terrarium plant.

Neutral VA_GARDEN On Nov 13, 2006, VA_GARDEN from Hood, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Can be aggressive, I have to take a firm hand to keep it in bounds. Makes a nice ground cover under shrubs, but can choke out smaller, or fragile plants. The more shade it has, the more intense the blue tones are. Goes dormant in winter, but colors up quickly in the spring.

Neutral smiln32 On Dec 7, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Another common name for this plant is Rainbow Fern. It can spread up to 3' and is semi-evergreen.

Positive joellentx On Aug 7, 2004, joellentx from Nederland, TX wrote:

in shade - color is greenish blue
in sun - color is more to the orange shades

I just took cuttings and planted them in soil to propagate

Neutral dogbane On Nov 9, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Does quite well in damp shade. Can thin extensively in winter or dry conditions. Interesting ground cover for very small area.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Bartow, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Blairsville, Georgia
Loganville, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
New Orleans, Louisiana
Bronx, New York
Brevard, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Swansboro, North Carolina
Chesterland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Brookings, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Sumter, South Carolina
Beaumont, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Nederland, Texas
Hood, Virginia

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