Among the large number of species (over 300 in all) of the selaginellas, there are comparatively few that are used in the trade, notwithstanding the fact that there are several of the species easily procurable and readily grown into very attractive pot plants. It is true that selaginellas in general prefer moisture and shade, and in consequence are somewhat tender in foliage, but this rule does not hold good in all cases, some of the species bearing exposure fully as well as many of the commercial species of ferns.
An example of this is found in S. Braunii, a Chinese species that has been Jong in cultivation and that is frequently though incorrectly labeled S. Willdenovii. The branches of this species are very tough and wiry, the leaves small and deep green in color, and it not only forms a very pretty plant in a 4-inch or 5-inch pot, but is also well adapted for growing into a large exhibition specimen, or for use among foliage plants in a veranda-box, the branches of this plant often reaching a height of eighteen inches or more.
S. Martensii is another well-known and deserving species, the flat branch-lets of which are quite effective among the plants in a table fernery. This species is very easy to increase by means of cuttings, these being potted up at once in light, sandy soil without the preliminary treatment of the cutting bed, and only require to be kept moist and sheltered from too much sun and air until they take root.
This species has also provided us with one of the best variegated forms found among the selaginellas, namely, S. Martensii var., the branchlets of which are variably marked with white. S. Martensii var. also roots readily from cuttings, it being necessary, however, to select well variegated pieces in order to perpetuate the variegation.
The freak of variegation is not confined to S. Martensii, for it also appears in the common S. Kraussiana var., and also in S. involvens, the latter being quite prolific in singular forms.
S. Kraussiana, also known as S. den-ticulata, is perhaps the most familiar example of this interesting family, and is one of the most useful plants we have for carpeting the surface of the soil beneath other plants, or for beautifying otherwise bare spaces beneath the benches of a conservatory.
S. cuspidata is another useful species, a plant of which is illustrated herewith. It will be readily noted that this illustration bears some resemblance to S. Emmeliana, a variety that has been very largely grown for a few years past for filling table ferneries, and the explanation of this is found in the fact that S. Emmeliana is simply a form of S. cuspidata. Cuttings of this species soon take root in sand or sandy soil, and become compact, tufted, little plants in a few months when grown in an ordinary fern house.
S. viticulosa illustrates another form of growth that we find in this diverse family, this species being better adapted for use as a pot plant than to be mingled in a fernery, its branch-lets being large and standing up like the fronds of a fern. These branchlets are thrown up from creeping stems and do not root readily, consequently the propagation of this plant usually depends upon division, or from spores. A good idea of this handsome species may be had from the accompanying illustration.
S. serpens is a singular member of this family that is quite common in gardens and forms a dense mat of closely rooting branchlets on the surface of the soil. The great peculiarity of this species is found in its changes of color during the day, the foliage be-iug bright green in the morning, but gradually becoming much paler, as though bleached by the light, finally resuming its lively "green hue at night.
Of the selaginellas that are especially valuable for private collections or for exhibition purposes a long list might easily be made, and prominent among them should be mentioned such beautiful species as S. Wallichii, S. Vogelii, S. Lyallii, S. Willdenovii, that very strong growing scandent species with the strong, metallic tints on its foliage, a species that has been tossed about on the waves of nomenclature, being sometimes S. caesia arborea, again S. laevigata, and finally S. Willdenovii. Also S. haematodes, S. atroviridis, and S. rubricaulis, all of which are worthy of more extended cultivation, though not all are quite so easy to manage as the few we have specially referred to for commercial purposes. W. H. T.