Slender Hairy Cap MossSlender Hairy-cap, Polytrichum gracile, Dicks.
Habit and habitat.-The slender Polytrichum is not common. It may be found densely tufted--on the ground in woods, or on rocks.
Name.-The specific name gracile is from the Latin gracilis, slender.
Plant (gametophyte).-Light green, erect, 1 to 4 inches high, simple above, divided at the base and covered with soft matted hairs.
Leaves.-Spreading or erect when dry, broadly lance-shaped ; apex sharply taper-pointed ; base sheathing ; vein broad; margins serrate ; lamellae 30 to 40, not covering all of the leaf blade, 4 to 6 cells deep, the terminal cell elliptic in section.
Leaves at the base of the pedicel (perichaetial leaves).-Sheathing, 1/2 an inch long.
Habit of flowering.- Male and female flowers on separate plants, (dioicous).
Veil (calyptra).-Orange, not quite covering the spore-case.
Spore-case.-Erect or horizontal, broadly egg-shaped; indistinctly angled, mouth small; apophysis obscure.
Pedicel (seta).-Slender, orange, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.
Lid (operculum).-Conic, beaked.
Teeth (peristome).-With 64 teeth often confluent and unequal.
Spores.--Mature in summer.
Distribution.-From the mountains of Virginia to Newfoundland and west to the Rocky Mountains. Also in Europe, Asia and the Pacific Isles.