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A Bug-on-a-Stick Moss - Buxbaumia viridis

Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Microscopic annual or perennial plant from a persistent protonema (unique!). Leafy gametophyte is very small and inconspicuous. Gametophyte consists of protonemata bearing perigonia (male) and perichaetia (female). Apparently dioicous.

Leaves: None.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This species is identified by the characteristics of its capsule and seta. Capsules mature in late summer to fall.

Range Comments
Estimated range greater than 1,000,000 square miles worldwide. Range interruptedly circumboreal. Scotland, Scandinavia, Europe, Russia, Corsica, southwest Asia, China, western North America (British Columbia, Alberta, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California). In Montana: Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, and Missoula Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

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Relative Density



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

Decorticated wood or soil banks. In the PNW it is more common in drier coniferous forests. Occurs at higher elevations.

Reproductive Characteristics
Seta is 5-10 mm, straight. Capsule is 3-5 mm, ovoid, straw-green to milky iridescent colored, glossy, marginal ridge separating the upper/lower portion of capsule is not/less distinct. Cuticle (exterior membrane) on the top of the capsule splits longitudinally. The cuticle edges are recurved when moist and incurved when dry.

  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 Bug-on-a-Stick Moss — Buxbaumia viridis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from