Ulota obtusiuscula C. Muell. & Kindb. ex Mac. & Kindb.
twisted pincushion (ulota moss)

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

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #29774)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Ulota obtusiuscula
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Species Information

Species description:
Genus name referring to the curled leaves of many species. Species name meaning somewhat obtuse, in reference to the leaf apex.
Sporophytes abundant, light brown when mature, with sporangia longitudinally grooved, maturing in spring; calyptra with erect hairs.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The rounded tufts on trees, the hairy calyptra, and the leaves much contorted when dry are useful characters for determination.
Forming yellowish-green tufts or rounded cushions.
Similar Species:
Orthotrichum consimile is like a miniature version of Ulota but the leaves are not strongly contorted when dry, the calyptra has very few (or no) hairs, and the plants are less than 1/4 the size of Ulota. Of the other epiphytic species ofUlota, both U. drummondii and U. megalospora produce creeping shoots from the more flattened tufts. U. phyllantha is occasionally epiphytic and most populations bear clusters of dark green to brownish gemmae at the leaf tips; U. phyllantha is a maritime species, usually on rock. See also notes under Tortella tortuosa, an occasionally epiphytic moss.


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

Predominantly epiphytic on deciduous trees near the coast (broad-leafed maple, alder, Garry oak) but also on coniferous trees (Sitka spruce, yew, coastal lodge pole pine). Mainly near sea level but extending to sub alpine elevations on the immediate coast.
World Distribution

Confined to western North America from southeastern Alaska southward to California.


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Ulota crispa var. alaskana (Cardot & Thér.) Grout