Evergreen or semievergreen ground coversmosslike, beautiful, and easy to grow in humid, moist shade and slightly acid soils with lots of organic matter. Some of the many species form erect tufts of green often mistaken for ferns, but most spread very low to the ground, the sprawling stems rooting as they grow.
S. braunii. ARBORVITAE FERN. From China. Easy-to-grow, erect plant to 112 ft. high, spreading widely. Lower stems are undivided; upper, much-branched stems carry lacy dark green leaves.
S. kraussiana. CLUB MOSS, TRAILING SPIKEMOSS. Native to tropical and southern Africa. Creeping, trailing habit; grows 1 in. tall and spreads widely by rooting stems. Bright green leaves. Useful for hanging baskets. 'Aurea' has bright golden green foliage; 'Brownii' is especially dwarf, forming a 2-in.-tall cushion on the soil. 'Variegata' has bright green foliage splashed with cream.
S. lepidophylla. RESURRECTION PLANT. Native from Arizona and Texas southward to Peru. To 3 in. high, 6 in. wide; branched to base. Dense tufts of dark green leaves. Gets its common name from the fact that it curls into a ball when dry but opens flat when soaked in water.
S. pallescens. DWARF CEDAR FERN. Native to North and Central America. To 6 in. high, 1 ft. wide; branched nearly to base. Leaves are light yellow-green above, white beneath.
S. stauntoniana. STAUNTON'S SPIKEMOSS. From China. Slowly spreading habit to at least 12 in. wide, with many 8-in.-tall stems rising from rhizomes. Good in dryish woodland gardens.
S. uncinata. PEACOCK MOSS. From China. Creeping, trailing habit; 12 in. tall, spreading to 2ft. across by rooting stems. In filtered light, leaves are bright metallic blue-green.