Northern Ontario Plant Database
Pleurozium schreberi (Michx.) Trevis
En: Schreber's moss, redstem feathermoss, Schreber's feathermoss, big redstem, chink moss
Hylocomiaceae (Feathermoss Family)
Form: a robust feathermoss, forming loose, often shiny, light-green to golden, extensive mats. The stems and branches have a smooth, cylindrical appearance due to the shiny, overlapping leaves.
Gametophyte: stems are irregularly pinnately branched, with branches formed at right angles to the stem and tapering toward the tip of the shoot. Stems red, clearly visible through the leaves when wet; the prostrate to ascending shoots are 7-16 cm long. Plants dioecious, with male and female reproductive structures borne on separate plants. Stem leaves 1.5-2.8 mm long and about half as wide, elliptic to oblong-ovate, smooth, deeply concave, tip blunt to pointed due to strongly incurved margins at the tip. Costa small and double, often barely visible; alar cells orange and slightly enlarged. Branch leaves smaller than the stem leaves, 0.8-1.9 mm long, elliptic to lanceolate-ovate, concave.
Sporophyte: the reddish-brown sporophytes are rarely observed; seta 1.5-4.3 cm long, capsule 2-2.5 mm long, curved to horizontal.
Habitat and Range Pleurozium schreberi is the most common feathermoss in the understory of the boreal forest; it is also found on bog hummocks. It prefers poor to moderately fertile, dry to moist sites, but can tolerate most site conditions. Pleurozium occurs throughout northern Ontario in nearly all forest types; it is a circumpolar species with a disjunct range in Central America and South America.
Similar Species: Pleurozium schreberi is one of the easiest mosses to identify, with its distinct red stems and concave leaves, thus it is not easily confused with other mosses.
Internet Images: These images of Pleurozium schreberi from the Mosses of Alaska website clearly shows the seldom seen reddish brown sporophytes.
A closeup image of Pleurozium schreberi from Bioimages: the Virtual Field-Guide.
This link, with an image of 2 individual plants, provides a description of Pleurozium schreberi in French.
This image of Pleurozium schreberi, from Michael Simpson's Bryophytes of North America website, shows the shiny nature of the leaves.
This excellent illustration of Pleurozium schreberi is from the online version of the Bryophyte Flora of North America.
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