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

Dicranella heteromalla (Hedw.) Schimp.
silky forklet-moss (dicranella moss)

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 Dicranella heteromalla
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Genus name derived from the resemblance to a miniature Dicranum, and bearing the two-forked teeth characterizing that genus. Species name referring to the leaves that spread in all direc­tions although, in fact, they mainly curve in one direction.
Sporophytes abundant, maturing in early spring; the peristome teeth are bright red.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The asymmetric sporangium with an ob­liquely oriented mouth bearing bright red teeth and grooved surface when dry are distinctive. These features plus the silken, usually curved leaves and short, turf-forming plants are usually enough to sep­arate this species.
Forming short turfs of silken plants that are dark to light green.
Similar Species:
Other species of Dicranella resemble D. heteromalla but the sporophyte of the latter is distinctive (see above). Arctoa fulvella resembles D. heteromalla vegetatively, but the erect sporangium and the alpine or subalpine cliff crevice habitat will separate it. Kiaeria spe­cies also differ in habitat (usually on rocks) and sites (usually alpine or subalpine. Ditrichum species that occur in similar habitats have a straight erect sporangium that is never grooved.

Habitat / Range

On banks of mineral soil, in somewhat shaded sites, frequent on recently disturbed soil, more often on forest margins than within undisturbed forest, and extending from near sea level to subalpine ele­vations. Often on the soil of the roots of overturned trees.
World Distribution

Circumboreal; in the Americas extending as far south as Colombia.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Dicranella heteromalla var. orthocarpa (Hedw.) A. Jaeger
Dicranella heteromalla var. sericea (Schimp.) Pfeff.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References