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Montana Field Guides

An Urn Moss - Amphidium lapponicum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988). Growing in crowded cushions (FNA 2014), deep green above, russet below (Smith 1980). Stems upright with ascending branches, 5-35 mm in height (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Irregularly bent and spiraled when dry, expanding outward when wet, lance- and somewhat strap-shaped, 2-3 mm in length; margins smooth and flat; apex narrowly tipped; costa reaching the leaf tip or extending beyond it slightly (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Proximal laminal cells with rigid (FNA 2014) but not thickset walls, hyaline to light yellow (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), rectangular; marginal laminal cells similar to the basal cells; cells above 6-sided and rounded (Smith 1980), concealed by large, “warty” papillae (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The “warty” papillae concealing the upper laminal cells and the wide leaves distinguish this species from the other 2 species in North America. Its laminal cells are also larger than those of A. mougeottii (FNA 2014).

Species Range

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: Known in all territories and provinces except PE and MB; USA: in most states except in the Midwest and Southeast (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, and Missoula Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 9

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Seasonally wet, seepy, shaded basic stones (Smith 1980) and fissures, from low to high elevations (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous and producing capsules often. Perichaetial leaves bigger than stem leaves, upright, enveloping the stem, short-tipped at the apex (FNA 2014). Perigonia tiny, gemmiform, below the perichaetia (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Setae 1-1.5 mm in length. Capsule hidden amongst leaves or partially exposed, 8-ridged, 0.8-1.3 mm in length, contracted slightly under the mouth; peristome lacking (FNA 2014).

  • 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). Updated 3 January, 2020. 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.
    • 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.
  • 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:
An Urn Moss — Amphidium lapponicum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from