Oligotrichum aligerum Mitt.
small hair-moss (oligotrichum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #41652)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Oligotrichum aligerum
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name meaning few hairs, in reference to the few hairs on the calyptra. Species name meaning winged, probably in reference to the ridges on the back of the midrib.
Sporophytes frequent, maturing in summer, dark brown when mature. Male plants are usually in separate colonies, the bracts around the sex organs forming a reddish-brown cup.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The very small, often dark green to wine­red tinted, rigid plants with leaves showing ridge-like lamellae on both surfaces, combined with the disturbed mineral soil habitat are characteristic.
Loose to dense, dark-green to reddish-brown turfs with the leaves divergent when humid but imbricate when dry.
Similar Species:
O. hercynicum is very similar but lacks the ridge-like lamellae on the back of the leaves. O. hercynicum is also alpine. Psilop­ilum cavifolim also lacks the ridges on the back of the leaf and the plants are extremely small (usually less than \14 the size of Oligotrichum). Psilopilum is extremely rare and is known from only the northern most part of the province.


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

Frequent on the disturbed earth of banks and trail margins, also along water courses, from sea level to sub-alpine elevations.
World Distribution

In western North America from southeastern Alaska to California and eastward to Idaho, also in Mexico; in eastern Asia from Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.