Plant Guide > Mosses and Lichens > Mosses > Genus Ctenium > Knights Plume Moss

Knights Plume Moss

Knights Plume MossThe Knight's Plume Moss, Hypnum (Ctenium) cristacastrensis, L.

Habit and habitat.-In loose, rigid, yellow-green tufts on decaying logs in mountainous regions.

Name.-The great Linnaeus named this pretty moss crista- castrensis from its resemblance to a military plume or crest-Latin crista, a crest, and castrensis, military.

Plant (gametophyte). -The stems prostrate, 3 to 5 inches long, the tips upright; simple or twice-branched, closely and regularly feather-branched, the branches resembling a fern frond; branchlets close, diverging horizontally and curved back at the apex like a plume.

Leaves.-Stem-leaves broad, gradually long lance-like and taper-pointed, thin, turned to one side as a scythe blade, with longitudinal folds ; vein double or none ;margin sharply serrate
from the middle upward.

Leaf-like organs (paraphyllia).-Numerous, long, narrowly lance-shaped.

Leaves at the base of the pedicel (peri-chaetial leaves).-Long, sheathing, white, veinless.

Habit of flowering.-Male and female flowers on separate plants (dioicous).

Veil (calyptra).-Thin, smooth, pointed and split up one side.

Spore-case.-Cylindrical-oblong, arched, green-brown when ripe, dirtyyellow when empty.

Pedicel (seta).-One-and-a-half to two inches long.

Lid (operculum). -Broadly conical, sharp-pointed.

Teeth (peristome).-The outer teeth orange below, pale, serrate, and awl-pointed above ; the inner teeth long-pointed and cleft ; cilia three or four, thick and as long as the teeth.

Annulus.-Simple and narrow.

Spores.-Mature in summer and autumn.

Distribution.-North America, Europe, Asia.