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Pellucid Orthotrichum Moss - Orthotrichum pellucidum
Other Names:  A Straight-Hair Moss

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 or cushions of upright shoots (FNA 2014), darkly shaded (Vitt 1988) with a glaucous appearance. Stems sometimes reaching 25 mm in height (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Closely overlapping and pressed next to the stem, with the apex curved inward when dry, spreading, sometimes broadly, when damp, 2-2.7 mm in length, lance-shaped and tending toward oblong, narrowing to the obtuse or dull leaf tip; leaf edges smooth, curved back and down below, and bent more sharply back and downward above (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Upper laminal cells chlorophyllous (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), arranged in 1 layer, somewhat round and isodiametric, with 1-3 cone-shaped or 2-lobed papillae over each lumen; lower laminal cells short and quadrangular to square, with fine walls without knobs (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NU, BC and AB, MB, from OR, ID and MT s to CA, AZ and NM, also SD (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Carter, Flathead, Fergus, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Missoula, Park, Ravalli, and Sanders Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 7

(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)

Dry, siliceous and limestone boulders and bluff walls with full-sun exposure. Occurring at elevations from about 1640 to 9840 feet (FNA 2014).

This species is capable of growing in exceedingly xeric habitats(Vitt 1988).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Seta twisted, to 1.5 mm tall. Capsule 1.2 to nearly 2 mm in length, partially emerged (halfway or more) to exserted slightly beyond the perichaetial bracts, with 8 prominent ribs the whole capsule length (or seldom 16 ribs, with 8 shorter ribs alternating with the longer ones), contracted proximal to the opening when dry; stomata sunken and somewhat hidden by adjacent cells; exostome typically of 16 upright or spreading teeth, frequently disappearing with age, papillose, and with lines arranged longitudinally or in a network; endostome absent; prostome scarcely developed. Calyptra cone-shaped, sheltering the full length of the capsule, with papillose hairs (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.
    • 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
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    • 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.
    • Malcolm, B., N. Malcolm, J. Shevock, and D. Norris. 2009. California Mosses. Nelson, New Zealand: Micro-Optics Press. 430 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Pellucid Orthotrichum Moss — Orthotrichum pellucidum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from