Rhytidium rugosum (Hedw.) Kindb.
crumpled-leaf moss (rhytidium moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Curtis Bjork     (Photo ID #22517)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Rhytidium rugosum
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name denoting wrinkled, in reference to the leaves. The species name, meaning transversely wrinkled, further emphasizes the point.
It is rather surprising that this species shows such a wide distribution, especially when sporophytes are so rare. It remains a mystery, therefore, what reproductive devices this moss possesses that allow it to be dispersed from one locality to another.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The leaves with a single midrib and wrinkled surface, plus the regular side branches of many shoots, and the dry, usually open, habitat, usually in calcium-rich areas, are useful features.
Forming stiff, golden brownish-green to yellow-green, mats of reclining to suberect, interwoven shoots.
Similar Species:
Rhytidium rugosum is superficially similar to Rhytidiopsis robusta but the leaves have a single midrib rather than double as in Rhytidiopsis. Branching in Rhytidium is usually regular, at least in some plants, while in Rhytidiopsis branching is very irregular. Rhytidium usually occurs in dry, open sites while Rhytidiopsis is a forest species, reaching great abundance in humid, subalpine conifer forests. See also note under Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus.


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 dry soil of usually open areas at higher elevations and lati­tudes and on calcareous substrata, also in open woodland and descend­ing to lower elevations in the drier interior.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere, ex­tending southward to Bolivia in the Americas, and to north Africa; in North America widespread, extending southward in the east to the southern Appalachian Mountains, and in the west to northern Oregon and Colorado.