Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Crisped Dicranella Moss - Dicranella crispa
Other Names:  Crisped Fork Moss

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous. Growing in clumps or larger patches of erect shoots (Smith 1980), green with yellow tones (FNA 2007). Stems mostly 2-5 mm tall (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Length 0.6-2 mm (FNA 2007), somewhat distantly wavy when dry (Smith 1980), the lower leaves spreading and somewhat bent and twisted, lance-shaped (FNA 2007), the upper leaves suddenly constricted (Smith 1980) to a narrow subula spreading ca 90 degrees from a base that envelops the stem; margins flat and smooth below (FNA 2007), bent up and inward or erect above, occasionally smooth (Smith 1980) but typically finely saw-toothed at the leaf tip; costa reaching the apex, occupying most of the subula (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells smooth, not porose; upper laminal cells long and thin, 2-layered; lower laminal cells quadrangular and very slender; alar cells not distinct (FNA 2007); basal cells rectangular, diamond-shaped, or very slender (Smith 1980).

Fruit ripens spring through summer (FNA 2007).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Dicranella plants are similar to Dicranum species, but are not as large and have alar cells that are barely differentiated (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NL (except SK), WA to CA, ID, MT to CO (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Lake, and Lincoln Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(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 soil, frequently with a gritty or silty texture (FNA 2007), along the margins of streams and other waterways (Smith 1980). Elevation: moderate to high (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous (described also as autoicous). Perichaetial bracts spreading 90 degrees, longer than the vegetative leaves. Male and female plants similar in size. Seta single, spiraled when dry, 5-18 mm tall, red, turning brown with age (FNA 2007). Capsule upright or only slightly tilted, narrowing gradually to the base, conspicuously grooved when dry, 0.7-0.9 mm in length (Lawton 1971); beak occasionally bowed (FNA 2007), tilted (Smith 1980); peristome single, with 16 teeth, the teeth red, papillose distally, lined or pitted proximally, 2-lobed with the division reaching ca halfway down. Calyptra hood-like, concealing ca 1/2 of the capsule, falling away when the capsule ripens (FNA 2007).

  • 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. 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.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 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.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Crisped Dicranella Moss"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Crisped Dicranella Moss — Dicranella crispa.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from