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

Slender Hairy Cap Moss

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.