Monday, February 26, 2018

Mosses of Central Florida 48. Schlotheimia rugifolia

The distinctive brownish shoots of  Schlotheimia rugifolia.
Photo by Juan David Parra, copyright MBG, posted on
Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons License.


Schlotheimia rugifolia (Hooker) Schwagrichen (Orthotrichaceae) forms distinctive reddish-brown mats on logs, tree trunks, and branches.  The leafy shoots are more or less erect (extending away from attached base).  The flat leaves twist spirally around the stem when dry.

The narrow-ovoid capsules are usually erect, but bent in this
dry specimen. Photo by Juan David Parra copyright MBG,
posted on Tropicos,  available under a Creative Commons
License.




The leaves  of this species are elliptic, with short point at tip and have a slight rumpled (rugose) appearance. The midrib is strong, extending through to the short point.  Leaf cells are small, roundish, and smooth.  The spore capsules are erect and narrow-ovate in shape. They arise from the tips of the leafy shoots on elongate stalks,
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Schlotheimia rugifolia  is found throughout the southeastern U.S. as far north as Virginia and Tennessee, and extensively in the New World tropics.  In Florida, it has been collected throughout the state but with gaps.  In particular, it has not been collected in any of the Atlantic coastal counties between Volusia and Miami-Dade.

This is one of the relatively few mosses found in Florida that occur relatively high on the trunks and branches of trees.  The dark, reddish brown coloring, the distinctive spiral twisting of the dried leaves and the longer capsule stalks will distinguish it from others, such as SematophyllumCryphaea, and Forsstroemia, in this habitat.


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