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

Plagiomnium insigne (Mitt.) Kop.
coastal leafy moss (plagiomnium moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC

© Gwen L'Hirondelle  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #73125)

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Distribution of Plagiomnium insigne
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Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Genus name meaning oblique Mnium, probably in reference to the obliquely arching shoots of many species. Species name meaning notable, possibly in reference to the remarkable size of the plants or perhaps to the apical rosette of leaves in male shoots that resemble a decorative medal.
Sporophytes frequent, usually several arising in a clus­ter on each shoot, maturing in spring, light brown when ripe, later turning dark brown. Male plants with flower-like cluster of leaves around the male sex organs; sexes usually in separate colonies.
This species also has been treated under the name Mnium insigne, a synonym.
Distinguishing characteristics:
This is the largest Plagiomnium in British Columbia. It is usually terrestrial or on rotten logs in broad-leafed for­ests of humid climates. The strongly decurrent leaves with pointed tips are distinctive, as is the flower-like rosette of leaves at the apex of the male shoots. The presence of several sporophytes from each female plant characterizes many species of Plagiomnium.
Forming loose, tall turfs of translucent, dark green to light green plants attached to the substratum by dark brown rhizoids; leaves strongly contorted when dry.
Similar Species:
P. ciliare, although with leaves bearing decurrent bases, regularly produces a single sporophyte on each shoot. In P. cuspidatum and P. drummondii, the marginal teeth of the leaves are above the leaf middle only (to the base in P. insigne); P. venustum is less than half the size of P. insigne and confined to well-drained sites (especially frequent as an epiphyte) and separate male plants are absent; P. venustum is also yellow-green rather than translucent dark green. P. me­dium, although having decurrent bases, has older shoots heavily clothed with rhizoids; old shoots of P. insigne are nearly naked. P. ellipticum lacks decurrent leaf bases.

Habitat / Range

Somewhat shaded banks and swampy areas or alluvial sites, occasionally in lawns, especially in shaded sites, most frequent near sea level near the coast where it is most common in floodplain forests, but extending to sub alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Confined to western North America from south­eastern Alaska to California and eastward to western Montana.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Mnium insigne Mitt.
Mnium insigne var. intermedium Kindb. in Mac.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References