Plant Guide > Mosses and Lichens > Mosses > Genus Splachnum

Genus Splachnum

Genus SplachnumGenus SPLACHNUM, Linn.

The species of the Genus Splachnum are easily recognised by the extraordinary enlargement of the pedicel at the base of the spore-cases. They are perennial and grow in tufts, invariably on the dung of animals. The branches are soft and slender with broadly lance-shaped leaves, the lower distant and open; the upper tufted; all with a vein.

The name is from the Greek used by Dioscorides for some lichen or non-flowering plant.

The spore-cases are small, oval or short-cylindrical with convex mammillate lids, and a central column (columella) capped and generally exserted after the falling of the lid.

The pedicels are long and very much enlarged under the spore-case, the enlarged portion (apophysis) increasing after maturity and becoming pear-shaped, round or umbrella-like and diversely coloured.

There are sixteen linear teeth in pairs (geminate), orange-coloured and formed of two layers, the outer thicker and covered with tiny protuberances. The spores are minute.

Eight species are known in all, five of them in North America.

Red Collar Moss
Yellow Collar Moss