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Montana Field Guides

A Torncap Moss - Bucklandiella brevipes
Other Names:  Racomitrium brevipes

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SU
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Distribution data in BIOTICS has Distribution Confidence as "Reported but doubtful" with no explanatory notes (Spribille report). FNA 2014 does not show this species in Montana.
General Description
Plants: Growing in open, upright clumps or mats, olivaceous, and frequently with greyish tones above, brown below. Stems mostly 3-5 cm in height (up to 7 cm), a little bowed and inclined to erect, few-branched; central strand not present (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Upright and flat against the stem when dry, spreading a little when wet, 2.5-3.5 mm in length, 0.5-0.9 mm in width, sickle-shaped to straight, stiff and a little delicate; margins on one side widely curved back and down, narrowly so on the other side for part of the length; costa extending to the leaf tip and quite strong, convex and channeled ventrally, level on the outer surface; hair-pointed, the awn 0.4-1.1 mm in length, wide and robust, finely and sharply toothed on the margins, and with tiny, sharp spines on the dorsal surface, slightly decurrent (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Margins of 2 cell layers for part of 1 or 2 cell rows distally (occasionally interspersed with 1-layer patches); costa in X-section below and at mid-leaf of 3 cell layers and 6-9 big dorsal cells, above of 2 layers and 5-8 dorsal cells; laminal cells very wavy and minutely knobbed, prominently pseudopapillose (from lengthwise cuticular hills), and 1 cell-layer thick; basal cells somewhat long, with spiraled thickenings near the attachment; alar cells somewhat distinguished, occasionally regionalized as a yellow cluster; basal border of ca a dozen wavy, incrassate cells or else undistinguished; middle and upper cells erratically isodiametric to short and oblong, becoming wider than long at the margins (FNA 2007).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The very similar Bucklandiella sudetica has a costa that is round in X-section rather than flattened on the dorsal surface (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK, BC, and WA (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Lincoln County (Elliott 2016).

Dry, noncalcareous stones in open habitats; mostly montane. Elevation: 70-8860 feet (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Seta 1-3 in a perichaetium, twisted clockwise above, 25-55 mm tall. Capsule 1.3-1.9 mm in length, 0.6 mm in width, creased when dry, brown; peristome dentitions ochre, erratically covered with 2- to 3-lobed papillae (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.
  • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Torncap Moss — Bucklandiella brevipes.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from