Selaginella tamariscina (Beauv.) Spring


As the name implies, this species is often seen to appear dried up with the microphylls (single-veined leaf-like structures) curling up. However, when put in water, the plant regains its original fresh form. Plants are relatively small, and fronds are tufted and erect. The microphylls are ovate, margins toothed and tips acuminate to cuspidate. Sporophylls uniform, tetragonous (4-angled). It is commonly called a resurrection plant.

The herbarium is a repository of plant collections both from within the country and abroad as exchanged or donated specimens from other herbaria. One of the important botanical specimens currently deposited at the Philippine National Herbarium (PNH) is that of Maximo Ramos (Ramos 13602, PNH52334), Selaginella tamariscina (Beauv.) Spring. This collection represents if not the oldest, one of the oldest fern collections of a Filipino collector deposited at the PNH today. Ramos collected this specimen in Rizal (Luzon) in Aug. 1911. Although he started his career as a plant collector of the then Bureau of Science Herbarium as early as 1904, most of Ramosí collections were made with other foreign collectors. Hence, foreign counterparts were the recognized collectors in herbarium labels. For instance, his participation in the Lamao Forest Reserve collecting expedition in Bataan in 1904 was simply translated in herbarium collection data as Ahernís collector. Thus, the collection of Selaginella cupressina (Willd.) Spring from Rizal in 1905, Ahernís collector 2689 (PNH63719), may perhaps be the oldest fern collection of Ramos at the PNH!

Since the herbarium of the Bureau of Science was turned into ashes during World War II, most of the pre-world war plant collections in the Philippines were gone into oblivion. Fortunately, some duplicates that have been sent to other herbaria in the world as a result of active herbarium exchange program during the American era were returned to the Philippines after the war. So far, the oldest fern specimens collected in the Philippines that are currently kept at the PNH today are those by Merrill and Topping in 1904, although we have fern specimens that date back in the 1800s from Borneo and other adjacent countries.

Accordingly, the drug from Selaginella tamariscina (Beauv.) Spring is prescribed for coughs, prolapse of the rectum, gravel and old peopleís complaints. As the plant never seems to die, it is considered to have the property of prolonging life. In China, it has been used to treat amenorrhea and hemorrhage from the bowels.

This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
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