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Montana Field Guides

Recurved Hypnum Moss - Hypnum recurvatum
Other Names:  A Fern Moss

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, growing in slender, tangled mats (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), somewhat yellow (FNA 2014) to yellow-brown or occasionally green, glossy (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), deep brown to blackish below. Stems prostrate, 2-5 cm in length, 1- to (rarely) 3-times pinnate or erratically so; branches ranging from crowded to somewhat distant, 2-8 mm in length; hyalodermis lacking and central strand faint; pseudoparaphyllia of filaments or slender and lance-shaped, seldom forked (FNA 2014), numerous, occasionally quite long (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); rhizoids attaching plants rather strongly to the substrate (FNA 2014); cortical stem cells not swollen (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981).

Stem Leaves: Strongly turned in one direction and curved in sickle-like fashion or rolled nearly into a circle at the leaf apex, 0.7-1.3 mm in length, to 0.4 mm in width, pleated, egg-shaped to lance-shaped with oblong tendencies, slowly tapering to a slender acumen, the base slightly extending down the stem, unlobed; leaf edges curved back and down below and occasionally to well over half the leaf length or sometimes flat, nearly smooth to faintly saw-toothed (FNA 2014) above (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); costa faint or wanting (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells somewhat long and slender (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), not papillose; medial laminal cells narrower than the basal cells; basal laminal cells colored yellow, the walls somewhat pitted; alar cells somewhat square (FNA 2014), fine-walled (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), extending 4-10 cells up and along the margin, the alar area not clearly distinct (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens during the last part of summer and in autumn (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The similar Hypnum revolutum var. ravaudii has broad, leafy paraphyllia and leaves that are often only a little curved and occasionally even straight; H. recurvatum has paraphyllia slender and lance-shaped or consisting of filaments and leaves strongly curved to tips coiled nearly in a circle (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC to NL and NB (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Gallatin and Lake Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

On open and dry, calcareous stone (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), usually rather smooth bluff and rock faces especially where humidity lingers (FNA 2014), seldom growing on trees or rotten wood (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Occurring in lowlands to about 6560 feet elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Exterior perichaetial bracts bent back and downward; interior perichaetial bracts upright with a thin acumen. Seta 7-18 mm tall, somewhat red when ripe, smooth. Capsule 1-2 mm in length, somewhat yellow or tinged with red, nearly upright to level (FNA 2014), becoming bowed with age (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); operculum cone-shaped; exostome teeth 16, with a zigzag line on the outer face, fine lines or ridges below, and papillae above; endostome processes 16, similar in height as the teeth, keeled, cilia present. Calyptra hairless and draping hood-like (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.
  • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
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Citation for data on this website:
Recurved Hypnum Moss — Hypnum recurvatum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from