Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

A Fountain Moss - Fontinalis neomexicana

Native Species

Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, growing in masses (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981) to 50 cm in length, shiny (FNA 2014) or dull (Flowers 1973), green, light green, green with yellow tones, or somewhat brown (FNA 2014), frequently almost black with age (Lawton 1971). Stems irregularly branched; tips of the stems and branches somewhat stiff and long-tapering (FNA 2014), the stems stiff and tough proximally (Flowers 1973); central strand wanting; axillary hairs consisting of 5-7 cells, the first cell square and red (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Those of branches and stems alike, except branch leaves a little smaller (Lawton 1971), spreading a little to over 45 degrees when dry, spreading a little when damp, in 3 vertical rows along the stem (FNA 2014), typically overlapping at stem and branch apices (Lawton 1971), strongly folded longitudinally (FNA 2014), the keel only a little curved if at all (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), 2-5 mm in length, lance-shaped, sometimes tending to oblong or ovate, tapering to the acute to widely acute apex; base extending down the stem; leaf edges occasionally lightly bent back and downward when dry, flat when damp (FNA 2014), smooth or occasionally very finely saw-toothed distally (Lawton 1971); costa absent or scarcely developed (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Medical cells of the lamina long and slender, tapering at the ends, to long and narrowly diamond-shaped (FNA 2014), longer than the apical cells (Flowers 1973); alar cells oblong, swollen, the walls flaccid (FNA 2014), rusty (Flowers 1973) or brown, short-rectangular, the region fairly well-delineated (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981).

Range Comments
A western North America endemic (Lawton 1971). Found in AK, BC and AB s to CA, NV, UT, and NM, also MI (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Beaverhead, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, and Sanders Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 15

(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)

Affixed to stones, boulders, small dead branches (FNA 2014), submerged in low, running water (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981) and in pools (Elliott and Pipp 2016); occurring from lowlands to about 11,150 elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perigonia bud-like, the bracts about 1.4 mm. Perichaetial bracts to 3.5 mm (FNA 2014), occasionally narrowing suddenly to form an apiculus or cusp (Lawton 1971). Seta short, 0.2-0.3 mm tall. Capsule 2-2.5 mm in length, hidden amongst the bracts to barely exposed, without stomata; operculum cone-shaped; exostome teeth 16, slender and frequently joined at the distal ends in pairs, endostome forming a trellis, the segments joined by crosswise bars throughout (perfect). Calyptra cone-shaped and shielding the upper end of the capsule, hairless (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.
    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
  • 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.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
    • Rasmussen, S.M. 1968. Composition and structure of macrophyte vegetation of the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park as related to physical and chemical factors. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 44 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "A Fountain Moss"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
A Fountain Moss — Fontinalis neomexicana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from