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

Tetraphis pellucida Hedw.
common four-tooth moss (tetraphis 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 #42666)

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Distribution of Tetraphis pellucida
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Some Common Mosses of BC

Species description:
Genus name refers to the four teeth of the peristome. Species name refers to the transparent leaves (when wet).
Sporophytes common, reddish-brown when mature, maturing in late spring to summer. Gemma-producing shoots also abundant, especially conspicuous in late summer, producing cup-like terminal masses of leaves surrounding "nests" of slender-stalked, disc-shaped gemmae that are dispersed by splashing raindrops.
With diligence, it is possible to find tiny, rounded, leaf ­like flaps growing on the shaded, rotten-wood habitat of Tetraphis; these structures precede the appearance of the leafy shoots. They are clearly visible with a 10X hand lens but can be
Distinguishing characteristics:
The gemma-cup bearing shoots, the four unjointed peristome teeth and the usual habitat on well decomposed, but friable wood are useful characters.
Forming short, dense to loose, dark to pale green turfs of erect, unbranched plants.
Similar Species:
T. geniculata is very similar but the seta has a sharp, angular bend in the middle. Aulacomnium androgynum grows in similar, but usually drier, sites and produces gemma-bearing shoots which are terminated by a sphere of gemmae that are not enclosed in a "cup" of leaves; sporophytes of Aulacomnium are grooved and have many jointed peristome teeth.

Habitat / Range

Usually on decomposing stumps and logs of coniferous trees within coniferous forests also on peaty banks; from sea level to sub alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere; in North America widespread across the continent, extending southward in the east to South Carolina and in the west to California, Arizona and Colorado.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References