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A Starry Feather-moss - Campylium protensum
Other Names:  Star Campylium Moss, Campylium stellatum var. protensum

Native Species

Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous (Vitt 1988). Growing in open to crowded mats, somewhat glossy (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), green, yellow, or inbetween. Stems prostrate, freely branching, occasionally with paraphyllia consisting of 1 row of cells, or deltoid or egg-shaped; hyalodermis and central strand wanting; rhizoids or their initials occurring on the stem or on the dorsal side of the costal attachment, seldom growing in woolly mats (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Stem leaves not crowded (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), spreading or strongly so to ca 90 degrees, 1-2.3 mm in length, 0.4-1 mm in width; base upright or spreading a little, not pleated longitudinally, heart-shaped to deltoid and broadly rounded (FNA 2014), suddenly narrowing to form the acumen (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981); acumen grooved and making up slightly over 1/2 to 3/4 of the leaf length (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Alar cells swollen and transparent (FNA 2014), not developing into distinct auricles (Smith 1980), the alar area conspicuous (FNA 2014); distal cells very thin (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The similar Campylium stellatum has branches upright rather than prostrate, stem leaves generally a little larger, the acumen making up relatively less of the total leaf length (ca 1/3 to 2/3, less in Arctic plants, rather than ca 1/2 to 3/4 as in variety protensum), and paraphyllia never present (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, s to WA, UT and CO, also ON to NL and NS, MN, WI, and MI, IL and IN, MA and ME (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead County (Elliott 2016).

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

(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)

Wetlands high in minerals, swamps sheltered in trees, or exposed areas in upper elevations, creek banks (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Capsule bowed and level; exostome edges toothed or a little toothed above; cilia of endostome knobby (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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    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • 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 Starry Feather-moss — Campylium protensum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from