Philonotis fontana var. pumila (Hedw.) Brid.
philonotis moss

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Curtis Bjork     (Photo ID #22520)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Philonotis fontana var. pumila
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name meaning lover of moisture, in reference to the wet habitat. Species name also referring to the habitat of springs and fountains.
Sporophytes occasional to locally abundant, reddish ­brown when mature; the sporangium erect, green and sub spherical when immature, but red-brown, inclined and regularly grooved when ripe. P. fontana, especially in humid, shaded sites, often produces masses of deciduous branches that serve in reproduction.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The tall, turf-like plants in wet habitats, tightly compacted with red-brown rhizoids, the male shoots termi­nated by a flower-like rosette of leaves and often bearing short lateral branchlets below this rosette, plus the round sporangia, grooved and inclined when dry, are useful features.
Forming dense, tall, bright yellow-green to golden-green turfs densely tangled with red rhizoids.
Similar Species:
P. capillaris is less than ¼ the size of P. fontana and grows on disturbed mineral soil. Other species of Philonotis are impos­sible to distinguish on field characters and are troublesome even with microscopic features. Conostomum, similar in some respects to Philonitis" tends to form hard, rounded tufts in well-drained sites and the stiff, leafy shoots have the leaves in five neat rows, thus differing from the soft mats of Philionitis.


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

Wet, seepage or springy sites over rock, gravels or cliff shelves, often terrestrial, from sea level to alpine elevations, always in open sites; sometimes forming extensive turfs along streams in alpine areas and covering wet cliffs and banks.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere; throughout North America.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Philonotis tomentella Molendo