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Montana Field Guides

Toothed-Leaf Nitrogen Moss - Tetraplodon angustatus

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988). Growing in crowded, erect clumps (FNA 2014) or cushions (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), green with yellow tones, ranging to brown. Stems 2-8 cm high (FNA 2014), frequently branched (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Somewhat lax, upright and flexuose when dry (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), upright to spreading when moist (Lawton 1971), lance-shaped and long, cupped, 3-4 mm in length, 0.5 mm in width, narrowing to a very long acumen or subula; margins with teeth considerable in size (FNA 2014) or sometimes small and blunt (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981), or occasionally margins smooth; costa occupying most of the subula (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Upper laminal cells quadrangular to 6-sided and somewhat oblong; lower laminal cells quadrangular and elongate (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens in summer (FNA 2014).

Species Range

Range Comments
North American Range

AK to NL and NS, MT, MN, MI, NH, NY and ME (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Lewis and Clark County (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(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)

Humus and carnivore dung (Elliott 2016), skeletons, including those in owl pellets; dry habitats of the north (FNA 2014), montane (Elliott 2016).

Spores are sticky and attach to visiting flies, who carry them to dung and other nitrogenous surfaces (Vitt 1988).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous or dioicous. Seta 2-4 mm tall. Capsule brown and becoming darker with time, with a neck broader than the urn (FNA 2014) and up to 2 times longer, not or only scarcely protruding beyond the perichaetial bracts (Crum & Anderson et al. 1981); peristome of 16 exostome teeth, grouped in 4s at first, later in pairs (FNA 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Crum, H.A. and L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 volumes. Columbia University Press, New York. 1328 pp.
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • 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:
Toothed-Leaf Nitrogen Moss — Tetraplodon angustatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from