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Montana Field Guides

Slender Pear Moss - Leptobryum pyriforme

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in open clumps of upright shoots or sprinkled further apart, pale green (Lawton 1971), glossy. Stems black, a little bent (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), usually 5-15 mm in height, seldom to 60 mm (FNA 2014), branching infrequently (Lawton 1971); rhizoids sparse, reddish (Flowers 1973).

Leaves: Slightly bent and twisted when dry, upright to spreading broadly when wet (FNA 2014), the distal and perichaetial leaves longer than the proximal leaves (Flowers 1973), 4-5 mm in length, lance-shaped below, constricting suddenly to form a very slender, long acumen; leaf edges flat, smooth, occasionally finely-toothed close to the leaf tip (FNA 2014); costa nearly filling the upper blade (Flowers 1973), vanishing in the acumen (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells slender and long, quadrangular; upper cells longer and a little narrower than the basal cells (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

Common (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Throughout Canada and the United States (unknown in OK and TX); Mexico (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Granite, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Missoula, Park, Powell, and Sanders Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Damp soil, less often on decaying wood (Lawton 1971), disrupted habitats (FNA 2014), burned areas, greenhouses and in line with eave drippings (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981).

Reproductive Characteristics
Usually the female and male reproductive organs intermingling, or occasionally appearing to be on separate plants. Seta pear-shaped, short to 4.5 cm tall (FNA 2014). Capsule sloped upward to drooping, shiny and pale to deep brown; neck about half the length of the entire capsule (Lawton 1971), 1.5-2.5 mm in length; peristome teeth 16; cilia of the endostome with crosswise ridges. Calyptra draping hood-like, hairless (FNA 2014), with a long beak, early deciduous (Flowers 1973).

Specialized vegetative reproductive structures borne at leaf junctures and on radicles in the form of red (FNA 2014) to deep purple gemmae (Flowers 1973).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Crum, H.A. and L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 volumes. Columbia University Press, New York. 1328 pp.
    • Elliott, J.C. and A.K. Pipp. 2018. A Checklist of Montana Mosses (1880-2018). December 20th. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 73 pp.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2014. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 28. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 2. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 702 pp.
    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • Vitt, D. J. Marsh, and R. Bovey. 1988. Mosses, Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 296 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Keys for the Identification of the Mosses on the Pacific Northwest. Reprinted from 'Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest'. Published as Supplement No. 2 of the Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Nichinan, Miyazaki, Japan. 66 pp.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Slender Pear Moss — Leptobryum pyriforme.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from