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Montana Field Guides

Sickle Kiaeria Moss - Kiaeria falcata

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous. Growing in short, crowded clumps of erect shoots, green (FNA 2007) or green with yellow tones (Smith 1980), not glossy. Stems simple, 1-4 cm tall; rhizoids few near the top of the stem (FNA 2007).

Leaves: Typically strongly curved and pointed to one side (FNA 2007), scarcely changed when dry (Smith 1980), 2-4 mm in length lance-shaped, narrowing steadily to a subula (FNA 2007), the subula channeled (Smith 1980); margins upright, smooth, finely saw-toothed (FNA 2007) or smooth apically; costa excurrent, the protruding awn scruffy with papillae (Lawton 1971).

Leaf Cells: Margins 1 cell-layer thick above; alar cells frequently brown, moderately swollen (Lawton 1971), not sharply modified (Smith 1980); lower laminal cells somewhat long, smooth, occasionally pitted; upper laminal cells quadrangular, sometimes nearly square, a little papillose; costa with stereid cells scarcely differing from the guide cells (FNA 2007).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Unlike K. blyttii, K. falcata has falcate leaves. K. starkei differs from them both with its distinctly grooved capsules when dry and habitat of perpendicular rather than level rock (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NT, s to OR, QC and NL (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Flathead and Park Counties (Elliott & Pipp 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)

Moist (Elliott and Pipp 2016), gritty soil, noncalcareous stone, and frequently in areas of lingering snow on level stone substrates; high elevations (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous, the stalkless perigonia usually situated immediately beneath the perichaetia, or sometimes further away (FNA 2007). Seta 5-10 mm tall. Capsule typically bowed with a swollen area at the base (Lawton 1971), not distinctly grooved when dry; theca 0.8-1.2 mm in length (FNA 2007); operculum beak slanted (Lawton 1971); peristome with 16 2-lobed teeth, the lobes reaching to mid-tooth, russet, with papillae or longitudinal grooves or pores. Calyptra like a draping hood (FNA 2007).

  • 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. 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.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Sickle Kiaeria Moss — Kiaeria falcata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from