Plagiomnium ciliare

Alexis wrote today’s entry:

Robert Klips (Orthotrichum@Flickr) shares this photo via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. He writes, “Plagiomnium ciliare (Mniaceae) is a common woodland cushion moss. Like many mosses, male Plagiomnium plants produce their antheridia in terminal clusters surrounded by a rosette of leaves that forms a splash cup to disperse sperm during rainy weather. This specimen was photographed May 7, 2011 on a large boulder in a moist shady forest in Hocking County, Ohio, USA.” Thank you, Robert!

Plagiomnium ciliare is a moss endemic to Canada and the USA, growing on moderately dry substrates of soil, rocks, tree bases, rotten logs and stumps (Ireland’s Moss Flora of the Maritime Provinces (1982)). The plants are green to yellow-green in appearance, creating loose or dense tufts 3-9cm high (Conard and Redfearn’s How to Know the Mosses and Liverworts from 1979). This species is dioicous, meaning that a given gametophyte will yield either sperm or eggs, but not both. Additionally, the sporophytes are solitary, a single stalk (seta) occurring on any one gametophyte. The leaves are elliptic and have margins that are toothed almost to the base.

The name of the genus comes from the Greek word plagios, meaning “oblique, transverse, or slanting”, and mnion, simply meaning “moss”.

Plagiomnium ciliare

7 responses to “Plagiomnium ciliare”

  1. Vernon Smith

    I am more used to seeing the word spelled as dioecious rather than dioicous.

  2. Sheila Hill

    Thanks so much for the time, effort and scholarship you put into creating the Botany Photo of the Day. I enjoy them all!

  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Vernon,
    Alexis does explain dioicous in the entry. It has a (slightly) different definition compared to dioecious — though both mean essentially the same when translated from the Greek. To briefly summarize the Wikipedia article I’ve linked to, monoicous and dioicous are used for bryophytes (incl. mosses) where the gametophyte (1n) composes the dominant physical structure, while monoecious and dioecious are used for tracheophytes (incl. flowering plants) where the sporophyte (2n) is the dominant generation.

  4. Diana Ferguson

    How lucky are we to see this beautiful picture. I hope more mosses are featured on Botany Photo of the Day. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    zoom up to 400 and see what a beautiful moss we have today
    i do wonder if the moss can survive in this terrible heat wave
    thank you daniel and company

  6. Deb Lievens

    Thanks, elizabeth. I didn’t know you could zoom. What a treat.
    Does anyone know what is under the moss with the scaly skin look? A liverwort?

  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Deb, yes — likely Conocephalum conicum.

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