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Montana Field Guides

Fertile Pylaisia - Pylaisia polyantha
Other Names:  Pylaisiella polyantha

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in shallow mats (FNA 2014), green or green with yellow tones (Lawton 1971) to almost white, glossy. Stems prostrate or seldom upwardly inclined and bowing near the ends, more-or-less pinnate (FNA 2014) to erratically branched (Lawton 1971), somewhat catkin-like; branches to 10 mm in length; hyalodermis wanting and central strand in attendance; pseudoparaphyllia leafy, deltoid with a long acumen (FNA 2014).

Stem Leaves: Lying next to the stem when dry, spreading a little when damp, almost straight (FNA 2014) to slightly curved (Lawton 1971), cupped, a little pleated, lance-shaped with ovate tendencies, slowly tapering to the long acumen, 1.3-2 mm in length, approximately 0.45 mm in width; leaf edges flat, occasionally a little rolled up and inward above; costa paired and short; differing somewhat from the branch leaves, the branch leaves shorter (to 1.4 mm in length) (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells fine-walled (Lawton 1971), not papillose (FNA 2014); median cells slender and long (Lawton 1971); alar cells nearly square to short and oblong, distinct from adjacent cells, the alar region with 8-10 cells next to the leaf edge in several to 8 series (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens autumn through winter (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
North American Range

Canada: YT to NU, BC to NL and NS; USA: AK, ND to NE, CO, AZ to TX, MN to MO and most states e and ne from that line to the coast, also MI and AL; Mexico (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Cascade, Fallon, Flathead, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Meagher, and Ravalli Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

(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 bark or roots of trees. Occurring from low elevations to about 9840 feet (Lawton 1971).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous. Interior perichaetial leaves tapering to a subula. Seta somewhat yellow or red, 10-18 mm tall. Capsule upright, 1.6-2.2 mm in length, straight, not shrunken proximal to the opening (FNA 2014), sometimes slightly furrowed when dry (Lawton 1971); operculum cone-shaped with the short tip slanted; exostome teeth slender, a little papillose above (FNA 2014); endostome processes very slender, taller than the teeth (FNA 2014) to only slightly shorter (Lawton 1971), papillose above, without openings. Calyptra hairless and draping hood-like (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.
    • 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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    • Crum, H.A. and L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 volumes. Columbia University Press, New York. 1328 pp.
    • 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:
Fertile Pylaisia — Pylaisia polyantha.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from