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A Nodding Moss - Pohlia annotina

Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (FNA 2014), growing in open, upright clumps (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), green with yellow tones to deep green (Lawton 1971), not shiny. Stems 3-30 mm tall (FNA 2014), russet below, seldom forked; rhizoids several to numerous (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Loosely upright, overlapping, or a little curved and twisted when dry, upright to spreading about 45 degrees when damp, lance-shaped, narrowing to the acute leaf tip; leaf edges flat (FNA 2014) or slightly curved back and downward in the upper stem leaves (Lawton 1971), in the apical region saw-toothed or finely so; costa ending near the leaf tip (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Upper medial laminal cells diamond-shaped with fine walls (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens in summer (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK, BC, ON to NL and NS, WA to MT, CA, also OH to AR and most states east and northeast to the coast (unknown in IL, IN, KY, WV, AL and FL) (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Lewis and Clark and Missoula Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Moist soil (Lawton 1971), sometimes coarsely-textured to gravelly, in disturbed areas, such as path edges and along streams (FNA 2014). Occurring from low elevations to about 6560 feet (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perichaetial bracts slender and lance-shaped (FNA 2014). Seta 10-20 mm tall or more (Lawton 1971), solitary, somewhat straw-colored or tinged with orange. Capsule carried well-beyond the perichaetial bracts, straw-colored, inclined slightly below level to drooping vertically; neck distinct (FNA 2014), almost as long as the remainder of the capsule (Lawton 1971); stomata occurring on the capsule’s surface (FNA 2014) in the neck region (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); exostome teeth slender and deltoid, pitted below (FNA 2014), finely and thickly papillose above (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); endostome processes with wide openings and cilia short to scarcely developed (FNA 2014).

Specialized vegetative reproduction typically occurring in infertile plants by means of gemmae; gemmae developing in leaf axils (FNA 2014), particularly near the stem apex (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), in crowded groups (seldom solitary or few on older shoots), transparent to pale green, seldom taking on red tones, often somewhat rectangular (FNA 2014) to wedge-shaped (Lawton 1971), usually with 2-5 “peg-like” leaf primordia (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
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • 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:
A Nodding Moss — Pohlia annotina.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from