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A Oligotrichum Moss - Oligotrichum hercynicum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous, growing in upright clumps with shoots laxly-spaced or somewhat closer to each other, brilliant green with a whitish bloom, eventually turning russet. Stems 10-30 mm in height, unbranched or seldom branching from just beneath terminal reproductive organs (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Curving up and inward but not quite tubulose when dry, spreading more or less when damp but still curving up and inward and maintaining a pronounced groove above, 2.5-5 mm in length, lance-shaped, the base slightly enveloping the stem; margins unbordered, smooth or minutely saw-toothed above; costa extending to the apex or shortly beyond to form a mucro (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Dorsal lamellae few and short, arising from the outer surfaces of both the costa and the far distal lamina (Lawton 1971); ventral lamellae 8-20, all arising from the costa, with a height of 6-13 cells (FNA 2007), the margin (along the top of the lamellae) appearing finely scalloped (Lawton 1971); laminae wide, 1 cell-layer thick; medial laminal cells with thick walls, nearly square with the angles curved, a little smaller nearer the leaf edges; teeth of the margin spaced well apart, each consisting of 1 cell (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
Canada: YT, BC and AB, NL and NS; USA: AK, WA and OR, MT (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Flathead County (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Moist soil (Elliott & Pipp, 2016) along streams or lake beaches, areas of lingering snow, sometimes underwater from fast-running snowmelt, disrupted habitats (FNA 2007); ranging from montane to alpine elevations, reaching over 6560 feet (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perichaetial bracts slender and lance-shaped, longer than the foliage leaves. Seta usually single, light brown, 20-40 mm in height, smooth. Capsule 2-4 mm long, (FNA 2007); theca 2-2.6 mm in length (Lawton 1971); peristome double, with 32 teeth (FNA 2007), lacking papillae (Lawton 1971). Calyptra with few hairs (FNA 2007).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • 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. 2007. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 27. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 1. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 713 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
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    • 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.
    • 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:
A Oligotrichum Moss — Oligotrichum hercynicum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from