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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Blunt Bristle Moss - Orthotrichum obtusifolium
Other Names:  A Straight-Hair Moss

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plant: Loose to dense tufts. Green to yellow-green. Stems 0.5-2 cm tall, often branched.

Leaf: When dry, leaves closely imbricate. When moist, leaves spreading, broadly ovate to oblong-ovate, 1-2.8 mm long, concave, narrowed at the base, and narrowed to an obtuse or bluntly acute apex. Margins plane or somewhat incurved and entire or crenulate by projecting papillae. Costa single, 3/4 to 4/5 the length of leaf.

Leaf Cells: Basal leaf cells long, smooth, and thin-walled. Median leaf cells rounded to irregular, 10-18 ┬Ám, thick-walled, and with 1 papilla on each cell surface (rarely with 2 papillae per surface).

Note: A commonly occurring Orthotrichum moss on trees.

Species Range

Range Comments
Canada: AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT; USA: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MT, NE, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY; Europe; Asia (FNA 2014). In Montana, known from Carter, Fallon, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Lake, Lincoln, Missoula, Sanders, and Sweet Grass Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 12

(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)

Tree bark.

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Seta is 0.5-0.8 mm tall. Capsules immersed to emergent, 2.4-3.2 mm long, tapered to neck, and contracted under the mouth and strongly ribbed when dry. Calyptra smooth.

Gemmae borne on leaves: filamentous, brown or green.

  • 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.
  • 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:
Blunt Bristle Moss — Orthotrichum obtusifolium.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from