Dicranum polysetum Sw.
wavy-leaved moss (dicranum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Curtis Bjork     (Photo ID #16475)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Dicranum polysetum
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Species Information

Species description:
Species name referring to the many setae supporting the sporangia that emerge from the tips of each· sporophyte-bearing plant and support the sporangia.
Sporophytes common in spring and summer, the sev­eral sporophytes arising on each shoot being characteristic. Setae yel­lowish and sporangia light brown when mature.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The markedly undulate leaves, the dense matting of rhizoids, the multiple sporophytes and the general restric­tion to well-drained sites in drier coniferous forest, are usually reliable features.
Forming tall, loose turfs of light green, somewhat glossy, erect plants densely clothed in pale rhizoids on the stems at the leaf bases
Similar Species:
D. majus also has multiple sporophytes but, unlike D. polysetum, the leaves are not strongly undulate or are the stems densely matted with rhizoids. D. majus is confined mainly to extremely humid shaded forests near the coast. D. affine has undulate leaves but the plants form dense tufts in peatland and sporophytes are commonly solitary on each shoot.


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

Usually on humus in relatively open forest dominated by conifers. Occasionally on mineral soil or over rock. Most frequent in dry woodland in well-drained sites away from the coast from middle to subalpine elevations.
World Distribution

Circumboreal, following the range of the boreal coniferous forest. In North America extending southward in the east to North Carolina and Missouri; in the west to Wyoming.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Dicranum rugosum (Funck) Hoffm. ex Brid.