Friday, February 6, 2015

Mosses of Central Florida 10. Cryphaea glomerata

Cryphea glomerata grows on branches of hardwood trees. Photographed in
Hardee County by Alan Franck, USF Herbarium, 
[For other mosses in this series, see the Table of Contents]

Cryphaea glomerata Schimp. ex Sull. (Cryphaeaceae) is unusual in several respects.  It grows relatively high on the branches of hardwood trees in moist forests, and the sporangia are on very short stalks.  It is found throughout the eastern US, from New Jersey to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma.

Cells of the leaf are small and roundish, with thick walls.
From Franck 3699 (USF).
The stems are horizontal with leaves more-or-less flattened in a plane.  Leaf cells are flattened-roundish, with thick walls, and a midrib extends most of the way through the leaf.

Sporophytes are produced sporadically along the stems and are sessile (lacking a long stalk), remaining embedded within a cluster of sharp-tipped bracts. The unusual positioning indicates that long stalks are of no advantage to mosses that spread their branches from high vantage points, allowing them to provide greater protection for the sporangia.

A related species, Cryphea nervosa, is also found in Florida, and differs only in its more prolonged, sharp-tipped leaves, and the capsule teeth being more deeply embedded.

The family Cryphaeaceae is closely related to the Leucodontaceae, and not well-distinguished, making the genus Forsstroemia the most closely related genus locally.
Sporophytes (arrows) are produced sporadically along the leafy stems
and remain embedded within a nest of protective bracts.
From Franck 3699 (USF).

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