Plagiomnium insigne

A big thanks to Ruth for today’s write-up. Ruth writes:

Thanks to Carolina Chanis for today’s photograph.

Plagiomnium insigne is quite common on the University of British Columbia campus. Male plants are easily identified by their shoots and almost flower-like appearance. The dark green leaves are spirally arranged forming a cup-like shape at the tip. The club-shaped, dark-brown object in today’s photograph is the antheridium or sperm-producing male reproductive structure. The structure to the left of the antheridium is a paraphysis, or sterile filament. A detailed image of the moss life cycle is available from Moss Plants and More.

Plagiomnium insigne, or giant moss / badge moss (visit link for photographs) can be easily identified when the sporophytes grow — multiple sporophytes arise from one shoot, a relatively uncommon phenomenon. In British Columbia, it is the largest species of Plagiomnium, reaching 10 or more cm in height and more than twice as much in width. It creeps along the forest floor and on logs with long spindly shoots. As well as British Columbia, it is also found in southeastern Alaska and the western continental United States.

Bryophytes of Stanley Park has an excellent page on Plagiomnium insigne.

Plagiomnium insigne

12 responses to “Plagiomnium insigne”

  1. Annie Morgan

    Interesting write-up, must say they are much more attractive on the forest floor!

  2. Suzanne Klein

    I love seeing how the segments fit together, or grow out of (?) the one before. It seems to illustrate a sort of “planned accommodation” in nature.

  3. Christine Charlane

    OK, I GO TO UBC AND THESE ARE NOT ON CAMPUS. I STUDY PLANTS AND HAVE BEEN FOR 9 YEARS. THESE ARE NOT-I REPEAT- THESE ARE NOT EVER FOUND ANYWHERE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.

  4. Knox

    Thanks for an interesting perspective on what is underfoot and usually unobserved.

  5. Helen

    Hi Christine. Would you like to bet your botany class pass/fail grade on your shouted opinion?

  6. SoapySophia

    It is always interesting to see things under a microscope. Beautiful!

  7. Eric Simpson

    Looks very much like one of the mosses I came across while doing a salamander survey in the forest behind the campus of Humboldt State University. Not sure about the multiple sporophytes, but the flower-like appearance of the shoots looks the same.

  8. ruth

    Christine,
    Thank you for your comment. I would like to refer you to Dr. Wilf Schofield’s book (out of print, but the ISBN is 0771891652) titled: “Some Common Mosses of British Columbia” page 210. Thanks for your interest.

  9. Elizabeth Revell

    Mmm, these photos and their accompanying links remind me of why I failed, when I told myself I’d learn the New Zealand mosses … as our Tui Beer ads say, “yeah, right”. Without a microscope and a lab? I don’t think so. Aren’t they fascinating?

  10. ingrid

    Thanks so much for this 😀 including the link to the Moss Blog – I’m in bryological heaven!

  11. Souren

    Hi. Usually the photos are the highlight of the BPotD for me. But I’ve been coming back to this one just to enjoy the comments! ;0)
    Keep up the excellent work

  12. John Murtaugh

    Along with the wonderful pictures, the references given in the text and comments are fasinating.
    Who would have thought they could learn about a popular local beer in New Zealand while reading about mosses from B.C.
    Plants and beer, two of my favourate things!

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