Field of Science

The Knothole Moss (Part 1)

This small moss occurs in dense, dark green mats and is typically found growing on wet tree bark in sheltered crevices such as knotholes. The bark that it grows on is usually soft and rotten. I found this specimen growing on a decaying tree stump in a Connecticut forest. This species has a widespread, but sporadic distribution across eastern North America. (I hadn't known this fact when I identified it, but I guess that means I was pretty lucky to find this species.) The leafy gametophyte portion of this plant resembles a number of other plagiotropic or creeping mosses. (Plagiotropy is when the plant is orientated parallel to the surface it is growing on.) The sporophyte capsules are upright with the mouths open to the sky. The defining features that I used to identify this species involve the peristome teeth. ( I have a zoomed in shot of thees teeth that will better illustrate these diagnostic features.) The scientific name for this species is Anacamptodon splachnoides.

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