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An Orthotrichum Moss - Orthotrichum affine

Native Species

Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in loose clumps or cushions of upright shoots (FNA 2014), green, sometimes with yellow tones (Lawton 1971) or brownish-green (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Stems sometimes reaching 30 mm in height (FNA 2014), occasionally forked (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Straight and imbricate when dry, spreading, sometimes broadly, when damp, 2-4 mm in length, lance-shaped with ovate tendencies to strap-shaped (FNA 2014), narrowing to the acute or somewhat broader-angled leaf tip (Lawton 1971); leaf edges smooth, curved or tightly rolled back nearly to the leaf apex (FNA 2014); costa reaching or almost reaching the leaf tip (Lawton 1971).

Leaf Cells: Upper laminal cells chlorophyllous (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), somewhat round and isodiametric (FNA 2014), sometimes elongated, with 1 or 2 (Lawton 1971) cone-shaped or 2-lobed papillae over each lumen, arranged in 1 layer; lower laminal cells quadrangular and long with thick, knobby walls (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

BC and AB, s to CA, UT, and MT, also CO (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Broadwater, Carbon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Missoula, Ravalli, Sanders, Sweet Grass, and Teton Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Tree trunks, rarely stone, in forests along streams, in gorges and mountains (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Occurring from lowlands to about 9840 feet (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Seta twisted (FNA 2014), typically not as long as the capsule (Lawton 1971), 1-2.2 mm tall. Capsule to 2.5 mm in length, partially emerged (halfway or more) or entirely exposed just slightly beyond the perichaetial bracts, with 8 prominent longitudinal ribs; exostome of 8 upright teeth (curving or bent back and downward with age), faintly papillose; endostome processes 8, seldom 16, with papillae. Calyptra cone-shaped, sheltering the full length of the capsule, with hairs sparse and papillose (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.
    • 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
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    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • 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.
    • 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:
An Orthotrichum Moss — Orthotrichum affine.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from