E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Amblystegium serpens (Hedw.) B.S.G
creeping feathermoss (amblystegium moss)
Amblystegiaceae

Species Account Author: Wilf Schofield
Extracted from Some Common Mosses of British Columbia

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC
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Distribution of Amblystegium serpens
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Introduction

Two subspecies are reported in British Columbia:

1) Amblystegium serpens var. juratzkanum
2) Amblystegium serpens var. serpens

Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Genus name apparently derived from the blunt operculum; the species name referring to the creeping shoots.
Reproduction:
Sporophytes frequent and often abundant, maturing in spring to early summer; sporophyte reddish brown or with sporangium green and curved when immature.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The slender, soft plants with leaves show­ing an inconspicuous single midrib are usually sufficient to distinguish this species, especially if it occurs on wood.
Habit:
Reclining slender dark green to reddish-brown, thread-like stems forming interwoven mats, somewhat glossy (under lens); not changing markedly from moist to dry conditions, except that the leaves diverge outward when wet and are against the stem when dry.
Similar Species:
If on rock or soil, several genera might resemble it. Most require examination of microscopic features for discrimination: A. compactum has sharp teeth at the leaf base while A. serpens lacks them; Heteroc/adium macounii has papillose leaf cells when viewed under a com­pound microscope; most Campylium species that are the same size as the Amblystegium have leaves more spread when wet or dry; Kindbergia praelonga, when small, has a strong midrib in the leaves; Isothecium stoloniferum has toothed leaves, even in the slender forms of the size of A. serpens.

Habitat / Range

Habitat
Frequent in swampy areas and on floodplains on soils, logs and tree bases (especially broad-leafed trees), occasionally on cliff shelves, from sea level (upper edge of saltmarsh) to subalpine forest; occasionally, as a weed, on damp, shaded lawns and in greenhouses. Seldom abundant.
Range
World Distribution

Cosmopolitan in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, especially in temperate to frigid climates throughout North America.

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