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A Dicranum Moss - Dicranum elongatum
Other Names:  A Broom Moss

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous. Growing in deep (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), crowded clumps of erect shoots, shiny, pale green, sometimes with yellow tinges (FNA 2007) or brown (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981). Stems 2-10 cm tall (FNA 2007), sometimes to 15 cm (Lawton 1971); rhizoids russet and covering stem with woolly matting (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Loosely upright near the stem and sometimes the apex infolded more and slightly bent or twisted when dry, spreading slightly (seldom spreading over 45 degrees) and sometimes somewhat curved and pointing toward one side of the stem when moist (Smith 1980); lance-shaped below, narrowing above to form a tube-like subula (FNA 2007), cupped below, 3-5 mm in length, 0.3-0.5 mm in width (Lawton 1971); margins smooth, seldom finely toothed at the leaf tip; costa extending to the apex or slightly beyond, smooth or a tiny bit rough on the dorsal side, with no dorsal crests near the apex (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lamina 1cell- layer thick, the cells smooth and the walls bulging a little between cells; upper laminal cells nearly square to short and quadrangular, occasionally of odd shapes, the angles smoothed, thick-walled and not porose; lower laminal cells narrow and longer, porose; alar cells distinct, inflated (FNA 2007), brownish with yellow tones (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), the region not reaching the nerve, 1 or 2 cell-layers thick; costa in X-section with ventral and dorsal stereid bands not reaching the apex (FNA 2007) but reaching beyond mid-leaf (Lawton 1971), guide cells in 1 row, the cells of the ventral and dorsal epidermal layers typically not distinct from those of the stereid bands, occasionally with several cells of both faces larger (FNA 2007).

Fruit ripens in summer (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NL and NS, MT, CO, MN, NY, NH and ME (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lincoln, Ravalli, and Valley Counties (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)

Stones, soil, soil overlying stones, rock shelves (FNA 2007), on bare, rocky inclines of alpine tundra (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), in unsheltered areas (Lawton 1971), humus (Elliott 2016), seldom rotting wood, occasionally wetlands (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Inner perichaetial bracts enveloping the stem, narrowing suddenly above to a short acumen. Seta yellow or with red or brown tinges, 15-20 mm tall, spiraled when dry, single. Capsule close to vertical and sometimes slightly bowed, ochre, lined when dry (FNA 2007), the urn 1.2-1.8 mm in length (Lawton 1971); peristome of 16 teeth, separated ca halfway down into 2 lobes (seldom 3), russet, with papillae above. Calyptra hood-like, hairless, sheltering much of the capsule, falling away easily (FNA 2007).

  • 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.
    • 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.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Dicranum Moss — Dicranum elongatum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from