Philonotis fontana (Hedw.) Brid. - Spring Apple Moss


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Philonotis fontana - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Bartramiaceae


On soil or rock along the banks of ditches, brooks, or in springy areas, often in the open.




Circumpolar. Much of North America south to northern Mexico.


Stems reddish, 3-10 cm tall, forming dense tufts. Leaves bright green or yellowing, erect to erect-spreading or falcate secund, 1-2 mm long, ovate-lanceolate, usually abruptly acuminate from a more or less broad base; margins doubly serrate, revolute on the lower half or more; upper leaf cells prorulose on both ends; costa short to long excurrent. Dioicous; perigonia discoid. Setae 2-3 cm long; capsules 2-3 mm long, spherical when moist, slender when dry. Spores 24-30 μm.


Members of the family Bartramiaceae are sometimes called "Apple Mosses" for the round shape of the capsule. There is no established common name for this particular moss but the specific epithet refers to the tendency for this moss to grow on springy ground. I put those two characteristics together to give this very interesting little moss a much deserved name. The generic name Philonotis means "moisture loving".


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

The University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI




 Michael Hough 2010