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

Schistostega pennata (Hedw.) Web. & Mohr
goblin's gold (schistostega moss)
Schistostegaceae

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20432)

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Distribution of Schistostega pennata
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
The genus name based on a wrong observation that the operculum splits. Species name describing the feather-like appearance of the vegetative leafy plant.
Reproduction:
Sporophytes common, sporangia sub spherical pale yellow-brown when mature in spring, lacking peristome teeth.
Comments:
Sometimes called luminous moss or fairy gold, based on the protonema that glows yellow-green from reflected light.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The very tiny plants with leaves clearly in two rows and laterally fused at the base, the seemingly leafless lower portion of the shoots, the tiny sub spherical sporangia that lack peri­stome teeth, added to the very shaded habitat and the "luminous" protonema, when present, are distinctive features.
Habit:
Short turfs, loosely affixed to substratum; the protonema glows with reflected light, producing a light yellow-green sheen on the substratum.
Similar Species:
Small species of Pissidens can resemble S. pennata but the leaves of Pissiden show a clear sheathing flap and a midrib, and bright red peristome teeth are characteristic in the elongate sporangium.

Habitat / Range

Habitat
Shaded cliff crevices or, more commonly, on shaded sterile mineral soil of overturned tree roots in swampy forests and near water­courses from near sea level to sub alpine forests.
Range
World Distribution

Circumtemperate but widely scattered in the Northern Hemisphere; in North America from Newfoundland to southern Alaska and, in the east, southward to New York and Ohio; in the west to Washington.

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