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Stiff Matt Moss - Brachythecium turgidum
Other Names:  Stiff Brachythecium Moss

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SH

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, large, in somewhat crowded mats, green, vibrant gold or with added brownish tones. Stems from creeping to upright, up to 12 cm, unevenly pinnate; branches straight or contorted, up to 15 mm (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Stem leaves upright and close to stem, overlapping, ovate-lanceolate, 2.5-3.5 mm in length, 0.9-1.3 mm in width, a little concave, with strong lengthwise folds or pleats; base narrowing and extending along stem (decurrent); margins smooth or distally finely toothed, folded under (recurved) or flat; apex narrowed gradually or rapidly; costa relatively strong, over half the leaf length, ending well before the apex. Branch leaves akin to stem leaves but smaller (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Stem leaf cells with alar cells thick-walled, small and short-rectangular, the region unclearly demarcated; laminal cells thick-walled, linear; basal cells pitted and thick-walled (FNA 2014); median cells longer than basal cells (Lawton 1971). Branch leaf cells similar (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
When growing near persistent or permanent snow patches, the shoot leaves become strongly concave and faintly pleated; in other habitats normal shoot leaves are weakly concave and strongly pleated (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
Greenland; Canada: AB, BC, NL, NT, NU, ON, QC, YT; USA: AK, MI, MT, WY; n Eurasia (FNA 2014). In Montana: Carbon, Flathead, Glacier, and Lake Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5

(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)

Wet soil or rocks in alpine and subalpine meadows and fens (Elliott 2016). Elevation: Reaching 12,795 feet (Weber and Wittmann 2002).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous, seldom producing sporophytes (FNA 2014). Seta even, red, 10-20 mm in length. Capsule dark brown or with reddish tones, horizontal, long and curved, 2 mm in length; operculum an elongated cone (FNA 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • Weber, W.A. and R.C. Wittmann. 2002. Colorado Bryological Hot Spots, 2. Mount Evans. Evansia 19(2):71-73.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Elliot, J. C. 1993. Second checklist of Montana mosses. Unpublished report. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1. Missoula, MT. 45 pp.
    • 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, W. M., and Nancy Malcolm. 2000. Mosses and Other Bryophytes: An Illustrated Glossary. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press.
    • 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:
Stiff Matt Moss — Brachythecium turgidum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from