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Montana Field Guides

A Nodding Moss - Pohlia longicolla

Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (FNA 2014), growing in crowded clumps of upright shoots (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), green or sometimes green with yellow tones, shiny. Stems 8-35 mm tall (FNA 2014), russet, unbranched, covered with intertwining rhizoids proximally (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Loosely upright, overlapping, or a little curved and twisted when dry, upright to spreading about 45 degrees or more when damp (FNA 2014), smaller and distant proximally, becoming larger and more densely-spaced above (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), lance-shaped and long (FNA 2014), narrowing to the acuminate leaf tip, the tip frequently twisted; leaf edges flat or slightly curved back and downward (Lawton 1971), in the apical region the leaf edges saw-toothed or finely so; costa reaching or nearly reaching the leaf tip (FNA 2014), occasionally toothed on the dorsal surface near the apex (Lawton 1971), not red proximally (Crum and Anderson et al, 1981).

Leaf Cells: Upper medial laminal cells long and thin, wavy and worm-like, with fine walls (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens in spring through the middle of summer (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Pohlia elongata also has long-necked capsules and an endostome similar to that of P. longicolla. However, P. elongata plants are dull rather than shiny and have laminal cells diamond-shaped to 6-sided rather than long and worm-like (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: YT and NT, BC and AB, ON and NL; USA: AK, OR, MT, WY and UT, NH, NY and PA, VA, TN and NC; Mexico (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead, Gallatin, Lake, Lincoln, Madison, and Missoula Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 2

(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)

On soil somewhat rich in organic matter, found on embankments along trails and watercourses (FNA 2014); montane (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Monoicous (FNA 2014), with antheridia in twos in the axils of upper leaves (Lawton 1971), near the archegonia but not mingling. Sporophytes common (FNA 2014). Seta 10-30 mm tall (Lawton 1971), solitary, somewhat straw-colored or brown tinged with orange. Capsule carried well-beyond the perichaetial bracts, long and narrow (FNA 2014), the theca counting the neck 3-5.5 mm in length (Lawton 1971), straw-colored, inclined slightly to horizontal; neck long and distinct (FNA 2014), but typically not as long as the rest of the capsule (Lawton 1971); stomata occurring on the capsuleā€™s surface (FNA 2014) in the neck region, numerous (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); exostome teeth deltoid, pitted below (FNA 2014), papillose (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); endostome processes with slender openings or none, and cilia scarcely developed or lacking (FNA 2014), knobby, in 2s or occasionally 4s (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981).

  • 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.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Nodding Moss — Pohlia longicolla.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from