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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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


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

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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


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.