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Montana Field Guides

Wavy Feather Moss - Neckera pennata

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
The Distribution Confidence in BIOTICS is marked "Reported, but false" without any notation as to how this is known. Consortium reports 2 specimens. FNA 2014 does show this species in Montana.
General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, growing in glossy mats of pale- to yellow-green (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Stems prostrate, to 11 cm (FNA 2014), with secondary stems horizontal or somewhat inclined and hanging, branching almost pinnately (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), the branches lacking or scarce, long-tapering; paraphyllia scarce or lacking (FNA 2014).

Stem Leaves: Spreading (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), wavy, usually 2-3 mm in length, to 1.5 mm in width, egg-shaped, tending to oblong (FNA 2014), or tongue-shaped (Lawton 1971), with an acute or widely-acute apex (FNA 2014) or acuminate (Lawton 1971); leaf edges bent up and inward below on one side (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), finely saw-toothed to smooth below with a finely saw-toothed leaf tip; costa lacking or paired and short (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Cells of the apex somewhat diamond-shaped with oblong tendencies (FNA 2014) and shorter than the medial cells (Lawton 1971); upper medial cells slender and somewhat oblong (FNA 2014), a little bent (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), with thick walls, the walls occasionally porose (Lawton 1971); lower laminal cells oblong (FNA 2014), wider, the walls thick and porose (Lawton 1971); alar cells few, short and square, sometimes erratically so (FNA 2014), not porose (Lawton 1971).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The combination of wavy, acute leaves with paraphyllia few or lacking and fruit amongst the perichaetial bracts distinguishes this species (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: YT and NT, BC, ON to NL and NS; USA: AK, WA and OR, MT, UT and CO, AZ to TX, SD, MN and IA, WI s to TN, then e and ne to the coastal states from ME to NC (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead County (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Tree trunks and bottoms, boulders, stone bluffs of evergreen and deciduous woods (FNA 2014), seldom on stumps and wood; on vertical surfaces (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Occurring from lowlands to about 6560 feet elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Perichaetial bracts enveloping the stem, typically much longer than the capsule, seldom only a little surpassing the urn’s opening (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Seta smooth, about 1 mm long (FNA 2014). Capsule upright (Lawton 1971), brown, a little longer than the seta (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), held within the perichaetial bracts; exostome teeth lance-shaped (FNA 2014) with faint, transverse ridges below, often joined at the tips; endostome processes linear, short, and usually sticking to the teeth (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Calyptra hairless (Lawton 1971), draping like a hood and shielding the operculum (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981).

  • 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. and A. Pipp. 2016 (forthcoming). Checklist of Montana Mosses. Revised 2016. Prepared by the Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 90 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • 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.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
    • Vitt, D. J. Marsh, and R. Bovey. 1988. Mosses, Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 296 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Wavy Feather Moss — Neckera pennata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from