Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

A Scleropodium Moss - Scleropodium obtusifolium

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Plants: Pleurocarpous (Vitt 1988), growing in somewhat open mats (FNA 2014), or sometimes in tufts, deep green (Lawton 1971), green, or green with yellowish tones, shiny (FNA 2014), branching erratically (Lawton 1971). Stems sometimes reaching 15 cm in length, prostrate or occasionally floating, possessing a central strand; pseudoparaphyllia deltoid with a narrowly-angled apex; axillary hairs present with cells sometimes as long as 6:1. Branches resembling stems, catkin-like, appearing swollen, frequently bowed (FNA 2014).

Stem Leaves: Crowded, somewhat flattened to the stem and strongly overlapping, 1.1-1.5 mm in length, sometimes reaching 0.9 and rarely reaching 1.3 mm in width, strongly cupped, not pleated, widely egg-shaped to somewhat rectangular with ovate tendencies, narrowing to a broadly angled apex, sometimes with a short apiculus; margins curved up and inward, sometimes causing the finely saw-toothed edges to look smooth; costa reaching over half to 4/5 of the leaf length, without a spine at the distal end (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Laminal cells somewhat long, slender, and a little bent or curved; basal cells adjacent to alar region somewhat long and slender; alar cells square to short and oblong, with somewhat thick walls, the region obscurely delineated and small (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The similar Scleropodium touretii also has branches that appear swollen and somewhat long, slender basal cells next to the costa; however, it has an acumen the length of a few cells or more. S. obtusifolium does not have an acumen (FNA 2014).

Range Comments
Endemic to western North America. Canada: BC; USA: AK, WA to CA, ID to AZ, also MT (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Cascade, Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, and Sanders Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 21

(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 affixed to wet stones (Lawton 1971) and soil beside and on the banks of watercourses, sometimes underwater for periods. Occurring from lowlands to about 8860 feet elevation (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perichaetial bracts with a long acumen bent back and downward (FNA 2014), to 4 mm in length (Lawton 1971). Seta russet, 10-15 mm tall, very coarse all over. Capsule russet, tilted (FNA 2014), the theca 2-2.5 mm in length (Lawton 1971); peristome allowing capsule mouth to open in low humidity (FNA 2014); cilia with short, crosswise bars (Lawton 1971). Calyptra without hair (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
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Elliot, J. C. 1993. Second checklist of Montana mosses. Unpublished report. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1. Missoula, MT. 45 pp.
    • 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.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "A Scleropodium Moss"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
A Scleropodium Moss — Scleropodium obtusifolium.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from