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Montana Field Guides

A Nodding Moss - Pohlia vexans

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G3G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (FNA 2014), growing in open clumps of upright shoots or more dispersed, pale green (Lawton 1971) to green, sometimes with red tones, extremely shiny. Stems 5-15 mm tall (FNA 2014), russet, seldom forked; rhizoids several to numerous, papillose (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Firmly upright, somewhat overlapping, spreading about 45 degrees when damp, lance-shaped (FNA 2014), narrowing to the long-acuminate leaf tip (Lawton 1971); leaf edges flat (FNA 2014) or slightly curved back and downward in part (Lawton 1971), in the apical region leaf edges faintly and finely saw-toothed; base only slightly decurrent, if at all; costa not extending close to the leaf tip (FNA 2014), red proximally (Lawton 1971).

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

Fruit ripens in spring (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK, NT, BC and AB, MB, WA and MT (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead and Meagher Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Moist (Lawton 1971), often calcareous, fine-textured soil, rarely sandy, in disturbed areas, such as path embankments and along watercourses. Occurring from lowlands to middle elevations (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perigonial bracts sometimes reaching 3 mm in length (FNA 2014), terminal. Seta 10-20 mm tall (Lawton 1971), solitary, brown and tinged with orange. Capsule carried well-beyond the perichaetial bracts, russet or occasionally straw-colored, drooping vertically or very nearly so (FNA 2014), the theca including neck 0.75-1.5 mm in length; neck short (Lawton 1971); stomata sunken; exostome teeth deltoid, pale brown to yellow, pitted below (FNA 2014), papillose (Lawton 1971); endostome processes ochre to yellow, narrow, noticeably keeled with wide openings on the keel; cilia knobby and long (FNA 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • 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?
    • 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 vexans.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from