Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mosses of Central Florida 6. Ditrichum pallidum

Ditrichum pallidum plants are like tiny clumps
of grass.
[For other mosses in this series, see the Table of Contents]

Ditrichum pallidum (Hedw.) Hampe (Ditrichaceae) is one of the grass-like mosses. Each shoot consists of
a clump of elongate, grass-like leaves that consist mostly of an elongate midrib (costa). Cells in the upper section are elongate-rectangular, but overlapping and hard to distinguish.   The actual blade of the leaf flares out briefly at the base, where one can see relatively large ovate to rectangular cells.  The capsules rise from elongate, straight stalks, and  and remain more-or-less upright throughout.  At maturity, the capsules are narrow, nearly cylindrical, and with a single row of short teeth around the mouth, attached just below the surface.

Most of the leaf is the thick, prolonged tip of the
midrib, with elongate-rectangular cells.
Near the base, one can find the thin,
flaring blade, with ovate to
rectangular cells.
This species is widespread in both the old and new worlds, having been reported from Europe, Africa, Japan, and eastern North America.  It is common in Florida and found as far west as eastern Texas.  This distribution is consistent with its preference for disturbed soil along roads, fields, lawns, and forest openings.

When dry, the capsules are nearly cylindric, with
blunt tips. Just inside the mouth is a single row
of small teeth.