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Montana Field Guides

A Tortella Moss - Tortula muralis

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SU

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous. Dense, hoary or bluish-green, about 5-10 (occasionally 15) mm tall, producing rootlets at base (Crum 1981).

Leaves: When dry, lightly erect, twisted and folded. When moist, spreading somewhat. Total length with awn, 2-3.5 mm. Oblong-lanceolate (Crum 1981), elliptic, or obovate FNA 2007), acute or broader. Lower leaves apiculate, upper leaves tipped with hyaline (seldom yellow) entire hairpoint. Margins turned under almost to apex, typically with 1-2 (occasionally 3-4) rows of thicker, smooth (Crum 1981) to papillose (FNA 2007), yellowish cells forming a border. Costa extending well beyond apex, with papillae on back side (Crum 1981).

Leaf Cells: Upper cells rounded-hexagonal, green, thickly papillose and roughened on both surfaces. Basal cells more rectangular, hyaline, and smooth (Crum 1981).

Capsules ripen spring to summer (FNA 2007).

Species Range

Range Comments
Canada: BC, NL, NU, ON; USA: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, NV, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV; West Indies; s South America; Europe; Asia; Africa; Atlantic Islands; Pacific Islands (New Zealand); Australia (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Flathead, Missoula, and Ravalli Counties (Elliott 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 3

(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)

Steep deposits of volcanic ash (Elliott 2016), calcareous substrates such as limestone and sometimes sandstone in natural habitats, and in human creations such as brick, stone and concrete walls/storm drainages. Low to moderate elevations (Crum 1981; FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Autoicous (FNA 2007). 5-15 mm in length, flexuose, yellow (older ones becoming dark red). Capsules 1-2.5 mm in length, pale brown at first, eventually turning dark red-brown (Crum 1981).

  • 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. 2007. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 27. Bryophytes: Mosses, Part 1. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xxi + 713 pp.
  • 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.
    • 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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A Tortella Moss — Tortula muralis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from