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Montana Field Guides

Small Mousetail Moss - Myurella julacea

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous, (Vitt 1988), green with yellow tones (FNA 2014), typically with a pale, whitish bloom. Stems 10-30 mm (Lawton 1971), catkin-like with the tightly overlapping leaves, freely branching or simple, without paraphyllia (FNA 2014).

Stem Leaves: Upright, closely spaced and overlapping (FNA 2014) wet or dry, 0.3-0.5 mm in length (Lawton 1971), cupped (FNA 2014), practically orbicular (Lawton 1971) to roundly-egg-shaped (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), with a broadly-angled to rounded leaf tip or sometimes a small apiculus; leaf margins nearly smooth to finely saw-toothed (FNA 2014), flat or sometimes curved up and inward; costa absent or, when present, short, sometimes double (Lawton 1971), and obscure (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells diamond-shaped (FNA 2014), the length twice that of the width or less (Lawton 1971), papillose dorsally from overlapping cells with protruding ends; medial laminal cells somewhat rhomboidal to square; alar cells not distinct from adjacent cells (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Unlike the acuminate-apiculate leaf tip of Myurella tenerrima, M. julacea plants have a rounded apex or, at most, a minute apiculus if they have one at all (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC to NL and NS, also WA, CA, MT to CO, MN to MI, also NY, CT, VT and ME (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Cascade, Fergus, Flathead, and Glacier Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5

(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 stone fissures or protected stone bluff faces and shelves, soil or organic soil around the bottoms of trees or occasionally on stream banks (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), around seeps and fens (FNA 2014), sometimes on wood; often on calcareous substrates but not restricted to them (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Low to high areas, reaching 12,140 feet (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous (FNA 2014). Seta yellow with orange tones, 6-15 mm tall (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Capsule upright or tilted a little, the theca 1-1.5 mm in length (Lawton 1971); endostome processes with openings (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981) and taller than the cilia. Calyptra like a draping hood (Lawton 1971).

  • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
    • Vitt, D. J. Marsh, and R. Bovey. 1988. Mosses, Lichens & Ferns of Northwest North America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 296 p.
  • 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:
Small Mousetail Moss — Myurella julacea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from