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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

A Tree Moss - Climacium dendroides

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Dendroid and green. Erect stems are 2-10 cm tall with imbricate leaves. The upper portion of stem branches (like a miniature tree).

Leaves: Erect stem leaves: 2-2.5 x 1-1.6 mm, nearly ovate, nearly entire, and rounded to cucullate at apex. Branch leaves: 2.5-3.0 x 0.8-1.0 mm imbricate, plicate, oblong-lanceloate, and tapering to the obtuse apex; leaf is rounded with small auricles where it meets the stem. Margins somewhat incurved, strongly toothed at the apex, and serrulate to the base. Costa single, ends before the apex. Branched paraphyllia common.

Leaf Cells: Basal cells shorter, frequently yellow, and walls pitted. Median cells smooth, long and narrow with thick or uneven walls. Alar cells short, quadrate to irregular.

Capsules ripen in fall (FNA 2014).

Species Range

Range Comments
Greenland; Canada: AB, BC, MB, NL, NT, NS, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT; United States: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, ID, IL, IA, ME, MA, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY; Mexico (Veracruz); Eurasia; Atlantic Islands (Iceland); Pacific Islands (New Zealand); Australia (FNA 2014). In Montana: Ravalli, Sanders, and Sweet Grass Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

(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 rotten logs. Often near streams or other wet places. Low to high elevations.

Reproductive Characteristics
Seta usually 1.5-2.5 cm long. Capsule yellow-brown to brown, cylindric.

  • 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.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • 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 Tree Moss — Climacium dendroides.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from