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A Homalothecium Moss - Homalothecium nevadense

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


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General Description
Pleurocarpous, typically growing in tangled mats (Lawton 1971) or in crowded clumps with the branches upright, pale green as juveniles, eventually turning somewhat yellowish to ochre. Stems prostrate, sometimes reaching 10 cm in length, crowded with pinnate branching, and possessing a central strand; branches 5-7 mm in length, rounded to wound nearly into a circle at the apex (FNA 2014) or sometimes straight, abundant (Lawton 1971).

Stem Leaves: Overlapping, upright and next to the stem, 1-2.5 mm in length, to 0.8 mm in width, strongly pleated, lance-shaped and somewhat deltoid narrowing slowly (FNA 2014) to the acute or more widely-angled apex (Lawton 1971) or forming an acumen (FNA 2014), the base slenderly extending down the stem; leaf edges finely saw-toothed to nearly smooth, flat or curved back and downward here and there; costa extending over 2/3 of the leaf length to approaching the leaf tip, stout throughout, ending with a spine (FNA 2014), sometimes several or occasionally none (Lawton 1971).

Branch Leaves: Flat against the stem when dry, spreading to over 45 degrees when wet, 1-2.1 mm in length, to 0.4 mm in width, lance-shaped, ending in an acumen or apex slenderly acute; leaf edges saw-toothed below, sometimes finely so, flat or curved back and downward here and there; costa length as in stem leaves, varying in length on the same shoot, with a spine at the end (FNA 2014).

Cells of the Stem Leaves: Laminal cells very slender and bent or curved; basal cells somewhat egg-shaped and long, the region arranged into 1-3 series of cells and that is obscurely different from the cell area above (FNA 2014); medial cells 10 times or more longer than wide, slightly longer than the basal cells, thick-walled (Lawton 1971); alar cells egg-shaped and thick-walled, somewhat distinct from adjacent cells (FNA 2014).

Cells of the Branch Leaves: Laminal cells very slender and bent or curved; basal cell region arranged into 1 or 2 series of cells; upper cells smooth; alar region of somewhat erratically-shaped cells, thick-walled, and well-defined (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: BC and AB; USA: WA, ID, and MT s to CA, NV, UT, and CO (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Madison, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Mineral, Missoula, Powder River, Ravalli, Sanders, Sweet Grass, and Valley Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 56

(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)

Stone and soil (FNA 2014), frequently calcareous, seldom on tree trunks and decaying wood (Lawton 1971), amongst trees and in exposed habitats. Occurring from lowlands to 10,170 feet (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Phyllodioicous or dioicous, the stems and rhizoids of large female plants supporting epiphytic dwarf males, or male plants similar to the females and growing intermixed in the same clumps or in separate clumps (FNA 2014). Perigonial leaves abundant, cupped, without a costa. Interior perichaetial leaves to 5 mm or more in length, occasionally with teeth at the bottom of the subula, and finely saw-toothed at the tip, the costa absent or faint (Lawton 1971). Seta russet, 7-15 mm tall, coarse below, occasionally only somewhat so, smooth above. Capsule russet, 2-2.5 mm in length (FNA 2014) or occasionally to 3.2 mm (Lawton 1971), upright, a little bowed or straight; operculum shaped like a tall cone or beaked (FNA 2014), the beak straight or sometimes tilted (Lawton 1971); peristome allowing capsule mouth to open in conditions of high humidity (FNA 2014); endostome processes very slender, not shorter than the exostome teeth (FNA 2014), perforate on the (slight) keel (Lawton 1971); cilia absent or not reaching 1/4 the height of the endostome processes. Calyptra without hairs (FNA 2014), draping like a cowl (Lawton 1971).

  • 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.
    • 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
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    • Elliot, J. C. 1993. Second checklist of Montana mosses. Unpublished report. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1. Missoula, MT. 45 pp.
    • 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.
    • Vitt, D. J. Marsh, and R. Bovey. 1988. Mosses, Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 296 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Homalothecium Moss — Homalothecium nevadense.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from