Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt.
red-stemmed feathermoss (Schreber's big red stem moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Ian Cumming     (Photo ID #6008)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Pleurozium schreberi
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name presumably referring to the loosely pinnate branching of the plants. Species named in honour of J. C. Schreber (1739-1810) a German botanist.
Sometimes popularly called red-stem moss.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The red stem, the pinnate branching, the broadly ovate leaves with an apiculate tip, and the short double midrib usually separate this species of drier, usually forested habitats.
Thick loose mats of semi-erect to reclining, glossy yellow ­green, golden-green to dull green, regularly branched shoots with con­spicuously red shoots.
Similar Species:
Pseudoscleropodium purum, a moss of city lawns, has green, rather than red, stems and leaves with a single midrib. Cal­liergonella cuspidata, a plant of wet sites, including lawns, also has green rather than red stems, and the leaves show no obvious midrib, but show swollen alar cells (alar cells in Pleurozium are small and angular). Some specimens of Hylocomium splendens from alpine areas may resemble Pleurozium, but the stems of Hylocomium are furry (under l0X hand lens) with paraphyllia.


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 sterile litter, over rock and on cliff ledges, occasionally ascending tree bases and in bogs. Mainly at lower elevations but ascending to sub alpine forests and occasionally into alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere, south to northern South America. Widespread across North America, extending southward in the east to North Carolina and Arkansas and in the west to Oregon and eastward to Colorado.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Calliergon schreberi (Brid.) Mitt.
Calliergonella schreberi (Brid.) Grout
Calliergonella schreberi var. tananae (Grout) Grout
Pleurozium schreberi var. tananae (Grout) Wijk & Margad.