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Montana Field Guides

Aquatic Scouleria Moss - Scouleria aquatica

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), trailing in water currents from wet stones, or growing in open tufts, deep green distally and darker proximally (Flowers 1973). Stems sometimes reaching 15 cm (Lawton 1971), without a central strand (FNA 2007); rhizoids growing from the base, along the stem, and from the abaxial costal surface below (Flowers 1973).

Leaves: Stem leaves closely spaced (FNA 2007), slightly bent and twisted (Lawton 1971) and upright to spreading about 45 degrees when dry (FNA 2007), spreading when wet, cupped (Lawton 1971), lance- to strap-shaped, narrowing to a curved or obtuse leaf tip, 2.8- 5 mm in length, 0.8-2.5 mm in width; leaf edges smooth below, saw-toothed above; base lightly embracing the stem; costa extending to the leaf tip (FNA 2007). Branch leaves similar to those of the stem (FNA 2007).

Leaf Cells: Lower laminal cells of similar length and width to short and oblong, those next to the costa sometimes very narrow or long and oblong; upper and medial cells square or nearly so, non-papillose, with thick walls; leaf edges fully of 1 cell layer or with 2-layer stretches, seldom entirely 2-layered, the submarginal cells sometimes thicker-walled and more deeply colored than the medial cells, forming a border; costa in X-section with distinguished ventral and dorsal superficial cells, a few guide cells (typically in 1 row), and ventral and dorsal stereid bands (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NT, s to CA, ID and UT (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Carbon, Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lincoln, Madison, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, Rosebud, Sanders, and Sweet Grass Counties (Elliott & 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)

Exposed or submerged rocks in rivers and creeks (Elliott & Pipp, 2016). Occurring from lowlands to about 6230 feet in elevation (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Perigonia axillary, the bracts widely egg-shaped and cupped. Perichaetia terminal, the interior bracts half again as long as the outer bracts. Seta not as long as the capsule. Capsule becoming shiny and black with time, the theca compacting below when dry (FNA 2007), looking like a miniature, “thick rubber tire” (Flowers 1973), the longitudinally-ribbed columella then exserted above the capsule mouth and supporting the operculum to which it is attached (FNA 2007); peristome of 32 smooth, red teeth, curving outward when dry and inward when wet (Lawton 1971). Calyptra draping like a hood (FNA 2007).

  • 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. 2007. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 27. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 1. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 713 pp.
    • Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah and the West. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 567 p.
    • 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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    • 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.
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Citation for data on this website:
Aquatic Scouleria Moss — Scouleria aquatica.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from