Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 52. Fontinalis sullivantii

Fontinalis sullivantii Lindberg (Fontinalaceae) is a straggling moss often found in water, but also on soil or tree bases in moist areas.  Leaves are spread primarily on two sides of the stem. Note all photos are of other species, provided to illustrate the general characteristics of the genus.

Fontinalis antipyretica, showing aquatic habitat.
Photo by Bernd Haynold, Creative Commons license,
posted on Wikimedia Commons
The stiff leaves lack a midrib, and the cells are worm-like, but plump, and densely filled with chloroplasts. A few cells at the base of the leaf are larger, more squarish, and clear.

Spore capsules appear along the stem and are nestled within a cluster of specialized leaves, lacking an elongate stalk.
The flattened leafy shoots of Fontinalis sullivantii.  Photo by
Kurt Stuber, Creative Commons license, posted on Wikimedia
The leaf tip of Fontinalis squamosa, showing the curvy,
worm-like cells filled with chloroplasts. 
Photo by Hermann Schachner, public domain, posted on
Wikimedia Commons

This species occurs throughout eastern U.S. and northern Europe.
It is found in northern Florida down to Hillsborough, Polk and Osceola Counties, though it has been sparsely collected.

Fontinalis may be confused with other aquatic mosses in Florida, but is distinguished from them by its lack of a midrib, the elongate, worm-like cells with thick walls, and the spore capsules that remain nestled within clusters of bract-like leaves.

Two other species have been collected sparsely in northern Florida: Fontinalis novae-anglae from the central Panhandle and possibly Orange County, and F. sphagnifolia, from central north Florida, with unconfirmed reports from Hillsborough and Polk Counties.  They differ in small, technical details.
The base of a leaf of Fontinalis antipyretica, showing larger,
clear, basal cells, captured nicely by Hermann Schachner, public
domain, posted on Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 51. Leucodon julaceus

Leucodon julaceus (Hedwig) Sullivant (Leucodontaceae) forms colonies of erect leafy shoots arising from a branching stem system on tree trunks, logs, rock, and soil.
Photo by Scott Schuette, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.

Leaves are short and scale-like, with inrolled edges, evenly distributed around the stem, and  lack midribs. Leaf cells are roundish-angular and largely smooth, but with some papillae on cells near the tip. When dry, the leaves press against the stem, resembling a tiny juniper twig.

Spore capsules are erect and egg-shaped, on short stalks arising from among specialized long, sword-shaped bracts, usually near the tips of the leafy shoots.

This species is found throughout the eastern U.S. and southern Ontario, as well as in Mexico and the West Indies.   It is found in northern Florida south to Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

It is somewhat similar to Schwetschkiopsis fabronia, but the latter is confined more to the bases of trees, and the leaves are "bumpy" throughout due to the translucent cell wall projections at the ends of cells.  Clasmatodon parvulus and Papillaria nigrescens are also similar but their leaves have distinct midribs.
Photo by Gerritt Davidse, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 50. Cyrto-hypnum minutulum

Cyrto-hypnum minutulum (Hedwig) W. R. Buck & H. A. Crum (Thuidiaceae)
is a creeping, freely branching moss found on rotting logs, the bases of trees, and rocks.
A dried specimen identified as Cyrto-hypnum minutulum in
USF Herbarium (Griepenburg s.n., 4 Apr 1970, Highland
Hammock State Park)

The leaves are scale-like, with small roundish to squarish cells with multiple papillae on both sides.  As in other members of the Thuidiaceae, leaves on the main stem are larger than on the branches.  The midrib extends 2/3 to 3/4 of the leaf length. Spore capsules are asymmetrical and bent to the side.

The related genus Thuidium differs in that papillae are found only on the lower surface, and there is usually only one per cell.

This species is found throughout state but lacking in the southern Atlantic counties.  It is also found throughout eastern N. America, Europe, and south into South America. 

Also found in Florida, but very limited in distribution and distinguished on minor characteristics are:
C. involvens, southern Florida north to Volusia County, but with major gaps.
C. pygmaeum, 2 records: Jackson and Manatee counties
C. schistocalyx : Highlands, Miami-Dade counties

The species has previously been known as Hypnum minutulum or Thuidium minutulum.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 49. Stereophyllum radiculosum

The flat, dried leaves of  Stereophyllum radiculosum have a
conspicuously bulging midrib.
Photo by Juan David Parra, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.
Stereophyllum radiculosum (Hooker) Mitten (Stereophyllaceae) forms thin, flat mats on the base of trees, exposed roots, stumps, logs, and limestone,  The distinctive flat leaves are attached uniformly around the stem (not flattened in a plane), elliptic-ovate in shape, and somewhat contorted when dry. The midrib is strong and markedly bulging, but does not reach the tip.  The leaf cells are small, roundish, and contains a single papillum (translucent bump). Spore capsules are erect to somewhat leaning,  asymmetrically egg-shaped, and arise from the bases of the leafy shoot on relatively short stalks (0.6-1.2 mm).

The leaning, egg-shaped spore capsule of Stereophyllum.
Photo by Juan David Parra, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.
This species is widespread in the tropics; found in the U.S. only in Alabama, Texas, and Florida, where it occurs in the southern part of the state as far north as Citrus, Volusia, and Alachua counties.

Most other creeping species found on tree bases have somewhat flattened shoots, with leaves mainly on two sides of the stem, and capsules strongly bent to the side (Isopterygium or Haplocladium) or symmetrical and upright (Sematophyllum, Entodon).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 48. Schlotheimia rugifolia

The distinctive brownish shoots of  Schlotheimia rugifolia.
Photo by Juan David Parra, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.

Schlotheimia rugifolia (Hooker) Schwagrichen (Orthotrichaceae) forms distinctive reddish-brown mats on logs, tree trunks, and branches.  The leafy shoots are more or less erect (extending away from attached base).  The flat leaves twist spirally around the stem when dry.

The narrow-ovoid capsules are usually erect, but bent in this
dry specimen. Photo by Juan David Parra copyright MBG,
posted on Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons

The leaves  of this species are elliptic, with short point at tip and have a slight rumpled (rugose) appearance. The midrib is strong, extending through to the short point.  Leaf cells are small, roundish, and smooth.  The spore capsules are erect and narrow-ovate in shape. They arise from the tips of the leafy shoots on elongate stalks,
Schlotheimia rugifolia  is found throughout the southeastern U.S. as far north as Virginia and Tennessee, and extensively in the New World tropics.  In Florida, it has been collected throughout the state but with gaps.  In particular, it has not been collected in any of the Atlantic coastal counties between Volusia and Miami-Dade.

This is one of the relatively few mosses found in Florida that occur relatively high on the trunks and branches of trees.  The dark, reddish brown coloring, the distinctive spiral twisting of the dried leaves and the longer capsule stalks will distinguish it from others, such as SematophyllumCryphaea, and Forsstroemia, in this habitat.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 47. Aulocomnium palustre

Aulacomnium palustre (Hedwig) Schwagrichen (Aulacomniaceae) forms tufted colonies of upright leafy shoots on wet soil, marshes, swamps, and sometimes rocks.  It employs asexual propagation via small, modified, bullet-shaped or spear-point leaves clustered at the tips of elongate stems.

The upright shoots of Aulacomnium palustre form loose tufts
on wet soil. Photo by Robert A. Klips.

The leaves are elongate, with a prominent midrib, and gradually come to a point.  Leaf cells are small, roundish and papillose.  Spore capsules are bent to the side, and distinctly grooved, but are not commonly seen in our area, as asexual propagation is abundant.

A single tapered leaf of Aulacomnium palustre, showing
the prominent midrib and tiny, rounded cells.
Photo courtesy Western New Mexico Herbarium,
from the Gila Wilderness.
This species is found in every state and province of North America and throughout the northern hemisphere.  In Florida it has been collected in scattered counties in the northern half of the state, as far south as Polk County.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mosses of Central florida 46. The genus Leskea

Leskea gracilescens growing on the side of a tree.  Photo by
Robert A Klips
Three of the four species of  Leskea found in North America have been reported from Florida: Leskea australis Sharp,  L. gracilescens Hedwig, and L. obscura Hedwig.   These are creeping, irregularly branched, mat-forming mosses, often with a reddish coloration, found on the bases or lower trunks of hardwoods and cypress trees, or on decaying logs. 
A leaf of Leskea gracilescens, showing the small roundish
cells with papillae (translucent light spots).  Photo by Kalman
Strauss, posted in the Consortium of North American
Bryophyte Herbaria database.
Leaves are ovate and pointed, with midribs that usually end before the tip.  Leaf cells are small, roundish, and papillose, and the spore capsules are erect and more-or-less symmetrical.

Only Leskea australis is known from central Florida.  It has been found throughout the state, but has not been reported from the extreme south, the western panhandle or the Atlantic coastal counties. Elsewhere, it is found throughout the southeastern U.S.
A leafy shoot of Leskea gracilescens with an inset of the
papillose leaf cells.  Photo by Robert A.Klips

The erect, symmetrical spore capsules of Leskea gracilescens.
Photo by Kalman Strauss.

L. gracilescens and L. obscura are both widely distributed in eastern North America, live in the same habitats as L. australis, and differ in minor ways. L. grascilescens has been reported from several counties in North Florida, elsewhere throughout eastern North America, and L. obscura only from Leon County.

Our Leskea species are similar to Haplocladium microphyllum, also in the Leskeaceae, but in Haplocladium the spore capsules are bent distincly to the side, and the leaf tips more drawn out into a narrow point.  H. microphyllum is also more likely found in soil, rocks or damp wood than on tree trunks.