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Oeder's Apple Moss - Plagiopus oederianus
Other Names:  Plagiopus oederiana

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Growing in crowded clumps, olivaceous to brown, not glossy (FNA 2014), 2-10 cm in height (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981). Stems upright or curving upwards, with branches sometimes forked once, with a hyalodermis and central strand, the cortical cells swelling when wet, in X-section the stem deltoid; rhizoids forming a tangled cover below, papillose (FNA 2014).

Leaves: Three-ranked, curved or twisted slightly and loosely upright when dry, spreading to ca 45 degrees (FNA 2014) or more widely when moist (Vitt 1988), 2-3.5 mm in length, lance-shaped and slender, strongly folded above; leaf edges frequently double saw-toothed above, rolled back and under most of the way; costa extending to the leaf tip or slightly beyond it (FNA 2014), the dorsal face saw-toothed distally (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981).

Leaf Cells: Lamina 1 cell-layer thick except frequently 2 cell-layers thick in the margins above (FNA 2014), the cells with tiny, cuticular lumps on the exterior cell surface (Vitt 1988); upper laminal cells nearly square or lengthened a little longitudinally, weakly ridged longitudinally (FNA 2014), not papillose (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), becoming longer proximally, the walls thick; basal laminal cells with finer walls than those above (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens through the summer (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The combination of deltoid stems (in X-section), lax stem cortical cells, and longitudinally-ridged upper laminal cells are important identifying characters (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK, NT and NU, BC and AB s to OR, ID, and MT, also CO, ON to NL and NS, MN and IA e and ne to ME, also PA and VA (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead, Lake, and Lincoln Counties (Elliott & Pipp, 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 4

(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)

Frequently on calcareous stone, in fissures and cracks of vertical cliffs (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), humus, in slow, shallow springs. Elevation: 660-12,800 feet (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Female and male structures intermingled. Seta single, 7-18 mm tall, sometimes a little bent or twisted (FNA 2014). Capsule 1-2 mm in length (Crum & Anderson et al., 1981), 16-ribbed (Vitt 1988), grooved when dry, with a small opening; exostome sections 16, lance-shaped, russet, sometimes with tiny papillae; endostome transparent or yellow. Calyptra draping cowl-like, not hairy (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
    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.
    • 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:
Oeder's Apple Moss — Plagiopus oederianus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from