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Montana Field Guides

An Orthotrichum Moss - Orthotrichum speciosum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in loose clumps of upright shoots (FNA 2014), green, sometimes with yellow tones (Lawton 1971). Stems 8-50 mm in height (FNA 2014), frequently forked (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Upright and loosely appressed, typically a little curved, bent or twisted when dry, spreading, sometimes broadly, when damp (FNA 2014), the tips curved back and downward (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), 3-4 mm in length, lance-shaped, sometimes slenderly so, tapering to the slenderly acute or sometimes apiculate leaf tip; leaf edges smooth, curved or rolled back nearly to the leaf apex (FNA 2014); costa nearly reaching the leaf tip (Lawton 1971).

Leaf Cells: Upper lamina of 1 cell-layer, the cells chlorophyllous (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), somewhat round and isodiametric (FNA 2014), sometimes elongated (Lawton 1971), with 1-3 large, cone-shaped or 2-lobed papillae over each lumen; lower laminal cells oblong and somewhat long with thick, knobby or undulating walls (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC to MB, s to CA, NV, UT, and CO, also QC to NS and NL, MN, MI, NY and NH (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead, Golden Valley, Granite, Lake, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Missoula, and Ravalli Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(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)

Evergreen and hardwood trees, stone. Occurring from lowlands to about 6560 feet in elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Seta twisted, 1-3 mm tall. Capsule 1.5-2.4 mm in length, borne beyond the perichaetial bracts or seldom partially obscured by them, with 8 somewhat faint, longitudinal ribs or folds reaching about halfway down the capsule (FNA 2014) or occasionally to the capsuleā€™s bottom (Lawton 1971); stomata at the capsule surface; exostome of 8 teeth curving back and downward (FNA 2014) like a cup handle rather than reflexed (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), the teeth apices near the capsule wall (Lawton 1971), with large papillae; endostome processes 8, typically still around when the capsule has dried, also with large papillae. Calyptra cone-shaped, sheltering the full length of the capsule, a little hairy, the hairs with delicate papillae (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.
    • 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.
    • 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 speciosum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from