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A Plagiomnium Moss - Plagiomnium insigne

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

General Description
Plants: Acrocarpous (Vitt 1988), dispersed or growing in open tufts or mats (Lawton 1971), ranging from green with yellow tones to deep green (FNA 2014). Fertile stems upright (Lawton 1971), 30-80 mm tall; infertile stems sometimes reaching 100 mm (FNA 2014), more or less creeping; tomentose at the stem bottom (Lawton 1971).

Leaves: Smaller and more distant below, wavy and somewhat twisted, bent or curved when dry, plane (FNA 2014) and spreading when damp (Lawton 1971), 3-11 mm in length (FNA 2014), about 2.5-4 mm in width (Lawton 1971), widest in the middle to sometimes egg-shaped (FNA 2014), narrowing to an acumen or acute leaf tip, or tip sometimes more widely-angled to curved, with a dentate cusp; base widely extending well down the stem; margins flat, sharply dentate from the apex almost to the bottom; costa exceeding or just reaching the leaf tip, seldom ending slightly below (FNA 2014).

Leaf Cells: Marginal teeth 1- to 2-celled; cells at the leaf edge arranged in 1 layer, long and thin, in 3-4 series (seldom 5); medial laminal cells with width about the same as length, or the length a little longer (FNA 2014), and smaller near the margins, occurring in somewhat vague up-and-down rows, seldom obliquely-rowed, pitted, often obscurely so, with wall angles thickened (FNA 2014).

Fruit ripens in the last part of spring (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The variation of characters within and among populations of Plagiomnium makes identification difficult without fertile plants (FNA 2014).

Species Range

Range Comments
North American Range

AK, BC to CA, ID, MT, and WY (FNA 2014). Known in Montana from Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lake, Lincoln, and Missoula Counties (Elliott and Pipp 2016).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 36

(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)

Shaded, damp soil or humus in woods and along path embankments. Occurring from lowlands to medium altitudes (FNA 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Dioicous. Antheridial heads saucer-like (Lawton 1971). Seta multiple, 3 to (seldom) 8 per perichaetium, 20-40 mm tall (FNA 2014), russet below, turning yellow above (Lawton 1971). Capsule 3.5-4.5 mm in length, drooping, with an obscure neck (FNA 2014), ochre; stomata sunken with guard cells partially hidden; exostome teeth yellow with green tones, papillose; endostome processes ochre, papillose, and widely perforate with long, knobby cilia (Lawton 1971).

  • 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?
    • 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:
A Plagiomnium Moss — Plagiomnium insigne.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from