E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Polytrichum juniperinum Hedw.
juniper haircap moss (juniper polytrichum moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #38409)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Polytrichum juniperinum
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Species name probably denoting the resemblance of the plants to juniper seedlings.
Sporophytes frequent, the seta wine-red and glossy and the sporangium dull red-brown when mature in summer; erect when young, inclined when ripe
Distinguishing characteristics:
The most useful features are the red, grad­ually tapering hair points of the leaves and the incurved, clear leaf blade that overlaps the lamellae on the upper surface of the leaves; this gives the leaves a powdery, bluish-green colour.
Forming short to tall turfs 10-'-100 mm tall, of dusty blue­-green unbranched shoots with leaves strongly divergent when dry and with reddish points.
Similar Species:
P. piliferum resembles P. juniperium in many respects. In P. piliferum, the white hair points are usually much longer (about 1/8 the length of the leaf) and taper abruptly from the body of the leaf; those of P. juniperinum are red, usually less than 1/8 of the leaf length and taper gradually from the body of the leaf. P. strictum is a miniature version of P. juniperinum, differing from it in its abundant felting of rhizoids along much of the stem length, its leaves that are generally half the size of those of P. juniperinum and in its usually boggy habitat.

Habitat / Range

Open dry sterile soil and within forest, also on road banks and cliff ledges, from sea level to alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Cosmopolitan, but more abundant in temperate and frigid climates.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Polytrichum apiculatum Kindb.
Polytrichum juniperinum var. arcticum Kuc
Polytrichum juniperinum var. waghornei Kindb.
Polytrichum piliferum var. hyperboreum (R. Br.) Müll. Hal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References