The wiry fern-moss is a circumboreal species found in Eurasia and North America. In British Columbia, it has been collected from across the province, including the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii).
Genus name derived from Abies (fir tree) based on its fancied resemblance to a diminutive fir tree. The species name has the same derivation.
Sporophytes rare, maturing in summer. Sporangium short cylindric and curved, red-brown when ripe; seta smooth, redbrown, elongate. Plants somewhat brittle when dry, probably fragments serve in vegetative reproduction.
The usually dark green to brownish-green, regularly pinnate plants that occur in drier terrestrial sites usually sufficient to distinguish this species.
Reclining or suberect interwoven plants, yellow-green to rusty brown to yellowish; never glossy; when wet the leaves diverge and the plant appears brighter green, upon drying the shoots seem more slender and the leaves sheathe the stem more closely
Helodium blandowii is similar in appearance, but this species is in damp sites and the green stems are often covered with paraphyllia readily visible with a hand lens. In Abietinella, paraphyllia are small and usually obscured by overlapping leaves, and the stems are reddish.
Claopodium may also be confused with A. abietina but the two species of similar size (c. bolanderi and C. crispifolium) have stem leaves with attenuate sharp white points; in Abietinella the apices are never attenuate or white. In CIao podium the leaves are contorted when dry; in Abietinella they are simply imbricate.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Hypnum abietinum Hedw.
Thuidium abietinum (Hedw.) Schimp.