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

Tortula muralis Hedw.
wall screw-moss (tortula 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 Tortula muralis
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Species name describing the usual habitat of walls.
Sporophytes abundant, red-brown, with red, cork­screw twisted peristome teeth; maturing in spring.
This is an extremely common species in urban areas and infrequent in natural environments. The abundance of mortar surface and persistence of seasonal moisture no doubt favour it.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The usual habitat on mortar or concrete in urban areas, combined with the white hair points of the leaves and the erect-cylindric sporangia with red, spirally twisted peristome teeth are useful characters.
Forming short, reddish-brown (when dry), bluish-green (when humid) to whitish turfs, with the white hair points often dominating the leafy plants.
Similar Species:
T. brevipes is similar to T. muralis but the peristome teeth have a basal cylinder from which the teeth emerge; the teeth in T. muralis lack this tube (shown in the figure of T. princeps). See note under Grimmia pulvinata.

Habitat / Range

Frequent on concrete of walls, between stones and bricks and on sandstone cliffs, rarely epiphytic on the trunk bases of Garry oak
World Distribution

Interruptedly circumpolar in temperate portions of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres; in North America infrequent in the east from Newfoundland to North Carolina and Tennessee and in the west from British Columbia to California, where often abundant.

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