Bryum argenteum Hedw.
silver-moss (silvergreen bryum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #22180)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Bryum argenteum
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name derived from a Greek word meaning moss. Species name from the silvery appearance of the plants. Sometimes called "silver moss".
Sometimes forms extensive colonies on the gravel of the flat roofs of high-rise buildings, attesting to the efficiency of its dispersibility as well as its tolerance of a seemingly inhospitable environment.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The silvery whitish-green, worm-like erect plants with nodding red sporangia are highly characteristic. Even with­out these sporangia, the glossy, worm-like, erect shoots are distinctive
Forming silvery, whitish-green turfs, sometimes nearly white when dry; the erect shoots resembling erect worms.
Similar Species:
Plagiobryum zierii, an infrequent moss on calcareous cliffs and in tundra, resembles a very large B. argenteum but the silvery plants are often tinged with pink and the sporophytes have a very long tapered neck and are light brown when mature. B. calobryoides of subal­pine elevations also resembles B. argenteum but is larger arid the leaves tend to be less tapered and more widely spaced than in B. argenteum. B. bicolor is similar in size to B. argenteum and has similar sporangia but the plants are obviously yellow or dark green, with no hint of whitish­silver. Myurella julacea, which also forms dense tufts of silvery green, worm-like shoots, is usually confined to somewhat shaded, calcium ­rich sites and the leafy shoots are about Y2 the diameter of those of B. argenteum. In Myurella the shoots are generally branched and the leaves show no midrib.


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 SourceSome Common Mosses of BC

Habitat and Range

On mineral soil, concrete, stones and pavement, from near sea level to subalpine elevations; most frequent in urban areas on man-­created substrata, but also in natural habitats; generally in sunny sites.
World Distribution

Cosmopolitan from the Arctic to Antarctic, fre­quent in temperate and cold climates, less common in tropical cli­mates. Throughout North America.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Bryum argenteum var. lanatum (P. Beauv.) Hampe
Bryum argenteum var. majus Schwägr.
Bryum lanatum (P. Beauv.) Brid.