Water Measuring Cord MossThe Water-measuring Cord-moss, Funaria hygrometrlca, Sibth.
Habit and habitat.-Like Cinderella, the Cord-moss is to be found among the ashes. One may look for it where picnic fires have been, or in wood-lots which have been swept by flames. One may also expect to find it in vacant lots used as dump grounds, or even on the crumbling mortar of old stone houses and neglected walls.
Name.- The specific name hygrometrica is a compound of two Greek words for; water and; measuring, and refers to the habit the plants have of twisting and untwisting their pedicels as they are alternately moistened or dried.
Plant (gametophyte).-The young plants are found in the fall. They are yellow-green with simple or branching stems, living but one year, or continuing by new growths.
Leaves.-Variable; tufted at the apex of the stem, usually erect and pressed together; oblong egg-shaped; apex short-pointed; margin entire; vein reaching the apex.
Habit of flowering. -Male and female flowers on the same plant (monoicous) ; terminal; the male on primary stems, the female on secondary.
Veil (calyptra).-Conical, shining, inflated at the base, split up one side, composed of bladder-like cells.
Spore-case.-When immature, erect, nearly symmetrical; when mature, pear-shaped, with the small end narrowed to an elongated and curved neck (collum). One side is more swollen than the other (gibbous); leathery, reddish, and deeply furrowed when old.
Spore-sac.-Much smaller than the spore-case, attached to it by loosely tangled threads.
Pedicel (seta).-Straight or arched above, 1 to 2 1/2 inches high, twisting and untwisting with the changes in the humidity of the air.
Lid (operculum).-Small like a flat saucer.
Annulus.-Compound, rolling back as the lid falls.
Teeth (Peristome). -The outer teeth sixteen, obliquely curving to the right, with horizontal prominent purple cross - bars on the inner face (trabeculate): pale and granular on the outer face, connected at the apex by a small disk with mesh-like veins (reticulated); the inner teeth sixteen, lance-like or more or less rudimentary, opposite to the outer teeth and adhering at the base, yellowish with a line running from apex to base, distinctly beset with minute points (papillate).
Spores.-Of medium size, maturing all summer.