Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. - Stairstep Moss


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Hylocomium splendens - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Hylocomiaceae


Moist, coniferous forests, on humus or logs.




Circumpolar; in North America south to NC, IA, CO, and OR; New Zealand.


Pleurocarpous moss forming dull, green or yellowish mats. Stems stiff, 2-3 pinnate in horizontal fronds, each frond offset and arising from the center of the previous years growth, producing a step-wise arrangement. Stems leaves loosely erect, 2-3 mm long, somewhat plicate, broadly oblong-ovate, abruptly narrowed to a short or long tip; margins recurved proximally, serrulate distally; costa double. Setae 1.2-3 cm long, orange-brown or reddish, more or less flexulose; capsules 1.5-2.7 mm long, brown, somewhat constricted below the peristome when dry; operculum 1.6-2 mm long, finely papillose.


One of the easier mosses to identify due to the distinctive stair-step pattern of growth and large, feathery fronds. Other common names include Mountain Fern Moss and Shining Fern Moss.


Crum, H. 2004. Mosses of the Great Lakes Forest, 4th ed.

The University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI




 Michael Hough 2010