Papillaria nigrescens (Hedwig) A. Jaeger (Meteoraceae) occurs on tree bark in shaded, humid hammocks. It's leaves are scale-like and pressed against the stem, giving the yellowish to blackish leafy shoots the appearance of tiny juniper twigs. Some shoots have drooping, whip-like extensions with sparser, smaller leaves, or are nearly naked with a small tuft of leaves at the ends. This species is not known to produce spore capsules in our area.
|Dried specimen of Papillaria nigrescens, collected in Hillsborough River State Park on bark of hardwood tree (Griepenburg 10, USF)
The main leaves are ovate, but gradually narrowing to a sharp tip. Leaf cells are narrowly-ovate and tapered, and somewhat wavy (worm-like) with papillae (hard, translucent bumps). The midrib reaches to about mid-leaf, though may not be very distinct.
|The scale-like leaves of Papillaria gradually taper to a sharp
tip. A faint midrib extends a little more than half the leaf
This species has been found throughout Florida, but collected only occasionally. It occurs throughout the New World tropics, and elsewhere in the U.S. it has only been found in southern Louisiana. It has previously been known as Meteorium nigrescens.
|Leaf cells in Papillaria are elongate, tapered and somewhat wavy. The papillae (hard, translucent dots) can be seen lined up along the length of each cell.