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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Red-mouthed Mnium Moss - Mnium spinulosum
Other Names:  Flapper Moss

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plant: Loose tufts. Dark green with red-brown stems. Stems erect, simple, about 1 cm tall. Rhizoids brown.

Leaf: When dry, leaves slightly contorted. When moist, leaves spreading, obovate, 3-5 x 2-2.5 mm. Apex acute or cuspidate. Leaf decurrent. The lower leaves smaller and may become scale-like. Margins bordered and toothed with double-teeth in the upper half. Costa percurrent to shortly excurrent and not toothed dorsally.

Leaf Cells: Median laminal cells are irregularly hexagonal and near costa are 30-40 µm wide, becoming smaller towards margin (18-25 µm wide). Cell walls are evenly thick, not pitted, and with no corner thickenings. Marginal cells are long and narrow forming 4-5 rows that in X-S are 4-5 layers.

Diagnostic Characteristics
All Mnium species are characterized by double-toothed margins.

Range Comments
Canada: AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT; USA: AK, AZ, CA, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NH, NY, OR, RI, SD, VT, WA, WI; Europe; Asia (FNA 2014). In Montana, known from Carbon, Cascade, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Judith Basin, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, Sanders, and Sweet Grass Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 207

(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)

On rotten logs, moist soil or humus in the woods. Lowlands to about 7,300 feet elevation. Found at 7710 feet in Park County, WY by Kosovich-Anderson (2015).

Reproductive Characteristics
Synoicous. Seta is 2-3 cm and red to yellow. Capsules are inclined to pendant, light yellow, cylindric with a well-defined, short neck, and 3-4 mm long.

  • 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.
    • Kosovich-Anderson, Y. I. 2015. Mosses of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, U.S.A.: New Altitudinal Records for North America. Arctoa 24:141-147.
  • 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:
Red-mouthed Mnium Moss — Mnium spinulosum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from