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Montana Field Guides

A Fern Moss - Hypnum procerrimum
Other Names:  A Hypnum Moss

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, typically growing in interwoven mats or upright clumps (Lawton 1971), russet to brown with yellow tones, occasionally deep green (FNA 2014), frequently shiny (Lawton 1971) or dull. Stems nearly upright to prostrate, 2-8 cm, somewhat yellow to more brown, pinnately branched (FNA 2014) or occasionally freely branched (Lawton 1971) with branches crowded; branches 1-15 mm in length; hyalodermis lacking and central strand in attendance; pseudoparaphyllia leafy (FNA 2014); cortical stem cells tiny and with thick walls (Lawton 1971).

Stem Leaves: Curved in sickle-like fashion and turned in one direction, 1-1.5 mm in length, to 0.8 mm in width (FNA 2014), or 2.5-3.6 mm in length and to 1.4 mm in width, cupped, occasionally faintly pleated, lance-shaped from the wide base (Lawton 1971) to egg-shaped with oblong tendencies, slowly tapering to the acumen, the base frequently lobed (FNA 2014), extending down the stem only slightly (Lawton 1971); leaf edges flat, smooth to a little wavy; costa paired or wanting (FNA 2014); branch leaves smaller, 1.5-1.8 mm in length, to 0.3 mm in width, the basal lobes not as clear (Lawton 1971).

Leaf Cells: Medial laminal cells mostly nonporose (Lawton 1971); basal laminal cells somewhat yellow or somewhat brown, narrow, the walls pitted (FNA 2014) and thick (Lawton 1971); alar cells nearly square to 6-sided (FNA 2014), oddly-shaped, or somewhat rhomboidal, short (Lawton 1971), numerous, extending 7 or 8 cells along the margin, the lobed area distinct and not concave (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC and AB, MT (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Lake County (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Rock, soil, and tree bases (Elliott and Pipp 2016), bluff shelves, uncrowded spruce woods, open areas; calcicolous. Occurring from lowlands to about 4920 feet elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous, fruit not known.

  • 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
    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.
    • Smith, A.J.E. 1980. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 705 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Fern Moss — Hypnum procerrimum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from