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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

A Scorpidium Moss - Scorpidium scorpioides

General Description
Plant: Large, in mats. Yellow-green, golden-green, to brown-green; usually black below and sometimes with green tips. Stems erect or prostrate, 5-15+ cm long, and usually branched.

Leaf: When dry, leaves imbricate, falcate, and usually rugose. Leaves ovate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, broadest above the base, 2-4 x 1.4-1.8 mm, somewhat asymmetric, concave, not decurrent, and not plicate. Apex acuminate or usually abruptly narrowed to an obtuse or acute apex, and sometimes apiculate. Margins plane or involute and entire or minutely serrulate at the apex. Costa absent or faint and short and double.

Leaf Cells: Basal leaf cells shorter than median leaf cells and strongly pitted. Median leaf cells long and narrow, 75-110 x 6-7 ┬Ám, and somewhat pitted. Alar cells, few, somewhat inflated, and with thinner walls.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Greenland; Canada: AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NT, NS, NU, ON, QC, YT; USA: AK, CO, CT, IN, ME, MI, MN, MT, UT, VT, WI, WY; South America; Eurasia; Australia (FNA 2014). In Montana: Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Missoula, and Teton Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 52

(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)

Exposed or submerged rocks in rivers and streams (Elliott 2016). Also found on wet soil in calcareous seeps and fens, and soil of bogs, ponds, and other wetlands. From low elevations to about 10,000 feet.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Seta is 4.0-6.0 cm tall. Capsules arcuate with the neck erect, 3-4 mm long, brown, and a little plicate and shrunken under the mouth when dry. Calyptra cucullate.

  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
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Citation for data on this website:
A Scorpidium Moss — Scorpidium scorpioides.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from