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

Dicranum scoparium Hedw.
broom-moss (dicranum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24749)

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Distribution of Dicranum scoparium
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Species name refers to a broom, from the swept appearance of the leaves on the stem.
Sporophytes common, maturing in spring. In exposed areas the plants often produce brittle shoots that are undoubtedly important to propagation.
Sometimes called "stork's bill moss" in reference to the strongly snouted operculum, or "broom moss" based on the fre­quently curved swept-to-one-side appearance of the leaves.
Distinguishing characteristics:
This is an extremely variable species with considerable habitat diversity; therefore, it is readily confused with sev­eral other species of Dicranum. The most useful features include the non-undulate, usually curved leaves (except in drier open nutrient-poor sites), the usual lack of abundant matting of rhizoids, and the occurrence of single sporophytes on each shoot.
Forming loose to dense, tall turfs of glossy, pale to dark green, generally unbranched or irregularly branched plants that show consid­erable variability in leaf orientation.
Similar Species:
From D. majus, D. scoparium is readily distinguished on the basis of the multiple sporophytes in the former. When vegeta­tive, these species are difficult to separate, even on microscopic charac­ters. From species of Campylopus and Paraleucobryum the very broad midrib in these two genera will separate D. scoparium with its narrower midrib. In these genera the midrib occupies 1/3, or more of the leaf width.

Habitat / Range

On rotten logs, exposed cliff edges, sometimes on forest floor and tree trunks, from sea level to subalpine and alpine elevations; pre­dominantly in forest but also in open sunny sites.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere; also in New Zealand. In North America southward in the east to Florida and Arkansas and in the west to California and Arizona.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References