Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Bulging Fork Moss - Dichodontium pellucidum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988). Growing in open to dense clumps of erect stems, deep green to green with yellow tones (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981). Stems 15-80 mm in height (FNA 2007) with a scant woolly matting of rhizoids below (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981).

Leaves: Twisted, curved, or wavy and the leaf tips curved inward when dry, straight when moist, the limb cupped and spreading from ca 45 to 90 degrees, 1-4 mm in length (FNA 2007), tongue- to lance-shaped with ovate tendencies; margins saw-toothed from the apex to mid-leaf or below or occasionally very finely saw-toothed to nearly smooth above (Lawton 1971), smooth near the leaf attachment, curved back and down to varying degrees in the lower half or sometimes nearly to the leaf tip; leaf tip acute to more widely angled or curved; costa nearly reaching the apex (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lamina 1 cell-layer in thickness (Lawton 1971); medial laminal cells nearly square with rounded angles to short-quadrangular (1-2:1), bearing columnar papillae on the dorsal and ventral faces; alar cells not distinct; basal laminal cells longer than the medial cells; several rows of shorter cells by the margins reaching the base (shorter than the more interior basal cells) (Lawton 1971); costa with ventral cells smooth, longer than and distinct from neighboring laminal cells, in X-section the ventral and dorsal epidermal layers distinct, both stereid bands present, the dorsal band well-developed, with 1 row of guide cells, the cells often arranged in pairs (FNA 2007).

Fruit ripens in the last part of autumn to the first part of spring (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK and YT, BC and AB s to CA, AZ and CO (although unknown in NV and WY), ON to NL and NS, MN to WI, MI, OH, PA, NJ, TN and NC (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lake, Lincoln, Park, and Sanders Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 13

(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)

Damp stones and soil on bluffs, along watercourses. Elevation: Low to high (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perigonia at the stem apex on male plants. Seta solitary, 9-20 mm tall, beginning yellow, becoming russet. Capsule carried above the perichaetial bracts, upright or tilted a little, lacking a swelling at the base of the neck (FNA 2007); operculum 1.2-1.6 mm in length (Lawton 1971), the beak long and tilted; peristome 16-toothed, each split ca halfway down into 2 lobes, red, with papillae above (FNA 2007), longitudinally lined below (Lawton 1971). Calyptra hood-like, extending to just below the capsuleā€™s opening (FNA 2007).

Specialized vegetative reproduction occurring by gemmae produced by forked stalks similar to rhizoids in the leaf axils, the gemmae several-celled and somewhat egg-shaped (FNA 2007) to nearly spherical (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981).

  • 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. 2007. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 27. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 1. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 713 pp.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • 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
    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.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Bulging Fork Moss"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Bulging Fork Moss — Dichodontium pellucidum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from