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

Oncophorus wahlenbergii Brid.
mountain spur-moss (Wahlenberg's oncophorus 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 Oncophorus wahlenbergii
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Genus name referring to the Adam's apple-like swelling at the neck of the sporangium. Species named in honour of G. Wahlenberg, a Swedish botanist of the 19th century who collected the original specimen.
Sporophytes frequent, reddish-brown when mature, with bright red-brown peristome teeth.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The sub-sheathing leaves, their remarkable contortion when dry, the sporangia with very red-brown peristome teeth and distinct knob in the neck, and the usual habitat on logs in perennially flooded areas are useful features.
Forming pale green, yellow-green to brownish-green, short turfs. Leaves sheathing at base and contorted when dry.
Similar Species:
O. virens has recurved leaf margins and enlarged cells at the lowermost margin of the leaf while O. wahlenbergii lacks these features visible with a hand lens. O. wahlenbergii usually has somewhat clasping leaf bases while O. virens lacks them. See also notes under Kiaeria starkei.

Habitat / Range

Rotten logs and rock crevices, especially in areas where there is a fluctuation in water level; from near sea level to sub-alpine forests.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere; in North America across the continent in arctic latitudes, southward in the east to the New England and Great Lakes states and in the west to California.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cynodontium wahlenbergii (Brid.) Hartm.
Oncophorus wahlenbergii var. compactus (Bruch & Schimp. in B.S.G.) Braithw.
Oncophorus wahlenbergii var. gracilis (Broth.) Arnell & C. Jens.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

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General References