African club moss
Selaginellaceae - Selaginella kraussiana

What does it look like?

Native to South Africa, African clubmoss is a delicate groundcover with long, fine roots which break off easily. Slender, irregularly branched stems are rooted at small nodes. Leaves (2-4mm) are in opposite rows. Tolerates both cool and hotter climates, and light to deep shade. Does however require reasonably damp to wet soils.

Why is it a problem?

African clubmoss disperses widely and quickly, forming a carpet-like mat on the forest floor and along forest margins. This smothering effect has a severe impact on native plant regeneration, with seedlings prevented from reaching the soil. Although it is easy to remove by hand, the smallest of fragments left behind can still be enough to start a new population.

Over time, a lack of native species being able to regenerate leads to less shade due to less understorey or second generation trees being present. As light gaps develop over time and there are no younger trees to replace the canopy layer, this becomes an issue as many pest plants will establish in these areas of high light. This essentially means that this delicate ground cover can have a serious impact on the over-all structure of the forest/te ngahere.


Control Methods

Physical control:

  • If it is possible, remove every fragment.  A follow up visit for any further removal is recommended. Removal by hand is also an option.
  • Cover with light inpenetrable material (i.e. black plastic/polythene - can be cleaned and recycled) or weedmat (weighted down) for three to six months.

Herbicide control

  • Spray with 100ml glyphosate (360g/L e.g. Round up®) + 20ml penetrant per 10L water.
  • Follow up will be required.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 

Related Links