(Hedwig) Hampe, Flora. 50: 182. 1867.
Hedwig, Sp. Musc. Frond., 108. 1801;
rather small, in silky green to yellowish green, loose to compact tufts.
short, to 0.5(-1) cm, usually simple.
erect-spreading to subsecund, flexuose-contorted when dry, to 7 mm; from a short ovate-lanceolate and ± sheathing base gradually or rather shortly narrowed to an elongate subula, lamina 2-stratose distally; margins erect, becoming serrulate towards the apex, 1-stratose proximally, 2-stratose in the subula; costa rather thin and narrow at the base, broader distally and occupying most of the base of the subula, excurrent, in section with a broad band of guide cells and shallow adaxial and abaxial stereid bands; cells of the leaf base rectangular to oblong-hexagonal, narrowed towards the margin and forming a ± distinct hyaline zone, elongate-rectangular in distal leaf base and subula.
Specialized asexual reproduction
autoicous; perigonia axillary; perichaetial leaves shorter than stem leaves, the base not sheathing.
yellow or sometimes reddish brown near base, elongate, to 4 cm or occasionally longer, flexuose.
suberect to somewhat inclined, yellow to brownish yellow, reddish brown with age, subcylindric, with a broadened base tapering gradually to a narrowed mouth, 1-2.5 mm, slightly asymmetric, weakly furrowed when dry and empty; operculum conic-rostrate, to about 0.8 mm; peristome 300-800 µm, pale brown to yellowish orange, 2-fid to a very short basal membrane, densely spiculose throughout.
rounded to obscurely tetrahedral, 15-30 µm, coarsely and sparsely papillose, brown.
Capsules mature winter-summer (Feb-Jul). Sandy or clay soil, rather dry, open or partly shaded habitats; low elevations; N.B., N.S., Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., Vt., W.Va., Wisc.; Europe; e Asia (Japan); c Africa.
is fruiting, the long, yellow setae are distinctive. The slightly asymmetric capsule and the long, spiculose peristome teeth are similar to those of
(Duby) Fleischer, a widespread, common species occurring in Mexico, Central and South America as well as elsewhere throughout the world, and
. However, the spores of all three species are easily distinguished. Spores of
are finely papillose-verrucose and 12-18(-20) µm; those of
are vermicularly papillose-verrucose and 11-15(-18) µm; those of
are larger, 15-30 µm, and the exine ornamentation coarsely and openly papillose.
Herbarium specimens of
are sometimes misidentified. If fruiting, the orange to reddish seta of
will immediately distinguish it from
with its yellowish seta. Also, spores of
have a distinctly vermicular ornamentation and are smaller. The operculum of
is about half the length of that of
. Vegetatively, plants of
have short stems and the leaf base is often ovate to ovate-lanceolate, being gradually narrowed to the subula. On the other hand, plants of
have longer stems and the leaf base is oblong-ovate and abruptly narrowed to the subula. L. E. Anderson and V. S. Bryan (1958) discussed the similarity of
, but maintained them as distinct species. H. A. Crum and Anderson (1980-1983) considered
to be a variant form of
having shorter capsules and peristomes, slightly shorter leaves with the costa somewhat broader at the base. The morphological and cytological differences were considered by Crum and Anderson (1981) to be insufficient to warrant separation.