Splachnum rubrum Hedw.
brilliant red dung moss

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #29964)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Splachnum rubrum
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Species Information

Species description:
Name from Greek and applied originally to a foliose lichen. Species name referring to the brilliant opalescent red-purple sporangium.
This is a strikingly beautiful moss for which few collections are known in the province.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The opalescent red-purple, umbrella-like sporangia are diagnostic.
Short, shiny, light to dark green turfs usually not obvious without sporophytes attached.
Similar Species:
S. luteum is of similar form but with pale yellow spo­rangia; it is found in open forests rather than boggy or swampy habitats. S. ampullaceum is also purplish to pink and occurs in habitats like those of S. rubrum but, in S. ampullaceum, the sporangium is much smaller with an inflated lower portion of the sporangium narrower than the skirt-like one of S. rubrum.


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 decaying animal waste in damp, often boggy or swampy areas in spruce forests, mainly at lower elevations.
World Distribution

Widely scattered in cool temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere; in North America extending northward to Labrador and southward in the east to Nova Scotia and the Great Lakes area and scattered across the continent to Alaska and British Columbia.