Plant Guide > Mosses and Lichens > Mosses > Genus Polytrichum > Awned Hairy Cap Moss

Awned Hairy Cap Moss

Awned Hairy Cap MossThe Awned Hairy-cap, Polytrichum piliferum, Schreb.

Habit and habitat.- Found in sandy fields, conspicuous on account of the white hair-like tips and the bluishwhite bloom of the leaves; the plants in clusters but not matted together. The male flower-clusters surrounded with red bracts. The specific name piliferum is compounded of two Greek words for; hair, and; to bear, referring to the numerous white hairs of the leaves.

Plants (gametophyte).- Short, 1 to 1 1/2 inches high, simple from subterranean creeping shoots, wiry and naked below, densely leafy above.

Leaves. - The upper long lance-shaped, the lower oval, appressed to the stem when dry, spreading when moist ; apex smooth on the back, prolonged into a rough, hair-like awn; margin entire, inflexed upon the upper surface of the leaf-blade; vein red, becoming suddenly transparent at the apex; lamella about 30, 4 to 7 cells deep, the upper cell pointed in section.

Leaves at the base of the seta (perichaetial leaves). - Narrowly tongue-shaped, erect, concave, without lamellae; base sheathing, transparent, shorter than the awn.

Habit of flowering. -Male and female flowers on separate plants (dioicous).

Veil (calyptra).-Mitrate, covering the spore-case.

Spore-case. - Erect, finally horizontal, egg-shaped, 4-angled. Apophysis distinct, constricted above where it passes into the spore-case.

Pedicel (seta).-Erect, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long.

Lid (operculum).-With a short stout beak, red or orange.

Teeth (peristome).-Sym-metrical, sixty-four in number.

Spores.-Smooth, ripe in summer.

Distribution. - America, Europe and Asia.