Friday, January 9, 2015

Mosses of Central Florida 9. Sematophyllum adnatum

Sematophyllum adnatum forms tangled mats of elongate leafy
stems.  It is distinguished from mosses of similar habit
by the leaves that curve strongly to one side.
(Essig 20060516, USF)
[For other mosses in this series, see the Table of Contents]

Sematophyllum adnatum (Michx.) E. G. Britt. (Sematophyllaceae) is one of the most common mosses in Florida, and also occurs westward into Texas, northward to New York and Ohio, and in tropical America.

The leaves of Sematophyllum adnatum consist of
uniformly elongate cells with thick walls, except
at the basal corners (here folded in) where they
are more squarrish and inflated.
(R. and J. Lassiter 2119, USF)
It resembles other common mosses, such as  Isopterygium tenerum, in that it forms thick mats of straggling leafy stems primarily on the bark at the bases of tree trunks and fallen logs.  It differs from other straggling mosses most conspicuously in the way the leaves curl to one side, particularly as they dry out, and in the capsules, which are slightly asymmetric, but erect, not strongly curved the way they are in Isopterygium.  

The leaves are similar to those of Isopterygium and other members of the Hypnaceae, with slender, worm-like cells with thick walls, and lacking in a costa, or midrib.  The leaf tips are generally not toothed like those in Isopterygium, and cells at the basal corners are more inflated. The caosules are also similar to those in the Hypnaceae, with two rows of teeth around the mouth.  Sematophyllum is presently separated in the Sematophyllaceae, which is scarcely distinguishable from the Hypnaceae. 

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