Pogonatum urnigerum (Hedw.) P. Beauv.
grey haircap moss (pogonatum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Curtis Bjork     (Photo ID #16001)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Pogonatum urnigerum
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Species Information

Species description:
Species name meaning urn-bearing, in reference to the sporangia.
Sporophytes common, maturing in summer to autumn but persisting sometimes through two years.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The powdery bluish-green plants with wine-red stems, the leaves occasionally tinged with red, with toothed margins, combined with the stiff leaves with lamellae on the upper surface, and the autumn maturing sporangia that are round in cross section, are all useful characters. Often the shoots are branched and each branch may bear a sporophyte.
Dense to loose, short, bluish-green turfs in which the stems are wine-red and attached at the base to the substratum by many rhizoids.
Similar Species:
Pogonatum dentatum cannot be readily distinguished on hand lens characters. Polytrichum alpinum of high elevations lacks the bluish-green leaves and may resemble Pogonatum. Polytrichum sexangu­lare has glossy, dark green leaves that lack marginal teeth.


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

Common in open areas on mineral soil and over rock, espe­cially near water courses, from sea level to alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere; in North America south to the New England states and Great Lakes in the east and to northern California in the west.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Pogonatum urnigerum var. subintegrifolium (Arnell & C.E.O. Jensen) H. Möller