Distichium capillaceum (Hedw.) B.S.G.
erect-fruited iris-moss (distichium moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Curtis Bjork     (Photo ID #24845)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Distichium capillaceum
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name meaning two rows, in reference to the leaf ar­rangement. Species name denoting hair-like, in reference to the slender leaves.
Sporophytes frequent and maturing in summer, light brown.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The erect, strongly flattened, leafy plants with glossy, overlapping, sheathing leaf-bases give each shoot the dis­tinctive superficial appearance of a miniature ear of barley.
Forming dense turfs of glossy, dark green to light green, un­branched, somewhat flattened, erect shoots.
Similar Species:
D. inclinatum differs in the usually shorter plants that have a short, stout inclined sporangium (compared to the erect, nar­rowly cylindric sporangium of D. capitlaceum). Some specimens of Ditrichum resemble this species but the leaves lack the flattened, sheathing bases.


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 in cliff crevices, particularly on calcium-rich sub­strata, but also terrestrial, from sea level to alpine elevations
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere, also extending southward, especially in the mountains, in the Southern Hemisphere; in North America extending southward to New York State in the east and to Arizona in the west.