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Indian Feather Moss - Timmia megapolitana
Other Names:  Warrior Moss

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988). Growing in upright clumps, green or green with yellow tones above, brown below, with leaves above neither fragile nor deciduous (FNA 2007). Stems 1-6 cm tall (Lawton 1971); possessing a central stand; rhizoids numerous, black with reddish tones (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Appressed, overlapping to curled and twisted when dry, spreading a little when hydrated, lance-shaped FNA 2007), 5-10 mm in length (Lawton 1971); sheath base that envelops the stem transparent or sometimes with yellow tones, the non-clasping limb coarsely toothed above, the teeth more spaced and finer below, green; the change from sheath to limb sudden (FNA 2007); blade slightly narrower than the sheath (Lawton 1971); leaf tip acute; costa single, robust, extending to either just below or beyond the leaf tip (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Costa smooth on the dorsal surface, seldom with papillae distally, mammillate on the ventral surface, in X-section (at mid-limb) with large dorsal and ventral cells, 2 stereid bands, and large guide cells; sheath laminal cells rectangular, wider and shorter near the transition to the limb, longer and more slender near the margins, with 1-6 papillae on the dorsal surface over the lumen or smooth; limb laminal cells low-mammillate on the ventral surface, smooth on the dorsal surface; cells at leaf attachment not easily breakable and transparent (FNA 2007).

Timmia megapolitana subsp. megapolitana: Present in Montana (FNA 2007).

Timmia megapolitana subsp. bavarica: Present in Montana (FNA 2007, Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Range Comments
Timmia megapolitana: Known in Montana from Cascade, Flathead, Gallatin, Granite, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Park, and Sanders Counties (Elliott 2016).

Subspecies bavarica: Known in Montana from Carbon, Flathead, Gallatin, Lake, Madison, Missoula, Lewis and Clark, and Missoula Counties (Elliott 2016).

North American Range

Subspecies megapolitana: AK to NS, MT, SD and NE, MN s to AR and e to the coast (not in the Far South nor the Far Northeast) (FNA 2007).

Subspecies bavarica: AK to QC, ID and MT s to AZ and NM; Mexico (FNA 2007).

Subspecies megapolitana: Calcareous habitats in damp humus, in wooded areas by large rivers, also becoming naturalized in places such as graveyards and lawns; mostly in temperate areas (FNA 2007). Elevation: To 6560 feet or above (Lawton 1971).

Subspecies bavarica: Habitats where nutrients collect, like at the bottom of bluffs or surrounding large rocks; mountainous areas of the Arctic (FNA 2007). Elevation: To 9840 feet or above (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Monoicous. Perichaetial leaves more slender than the stem leaves. Perigonia each with 5-40 antheridia; perichaetia each with 1-6 archegonia (FNA 2007). Seta 10-30 mm tall (Lawton 1971), becoming red with age, sometimes 2 in a perichaetium (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981). Capsule generally 2.5-3 mm in length, wrinkled or with longitudinal furrows when dry; exostome teeth 16, yellow below, lighter in color or transparent above; endostome with 64 knobby, papillose cilia that have many pointed or star-shaped projections on the inside (FNA 2007).

Subspecies megapolitana: Fruit nearly always present. Leaf sheath with upper cells papillose. Calyptra frequently persisting in clasping the seta (just below capsule) after dropping away from the capsule (FNA 2007).

Subspecies bavarica: Fruit frequently present. Leaf sheath with upper cells smooth. Calyptra not remaining connected to the seta (FNA 2007).

  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
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Indian Feather Moss — Timmia megapolitana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from