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

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #42666)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Tetraphis pellucida
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name refers to the four teeth of the peristome. Species name refers to the transparent leaves (when wet).
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.


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

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.