The Moss Families of the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


In Dixon’s Splachnaceae.

Gametophyte. Acrocarpous; forming tufts, or the plants scattered. Mature plants 5–10 mm high. The leaves orbicular, or spathulate to obovate (entire, soft and succulent); spiral; single-nerved. The leaf nerves extending beyond the middle of the leaf, but not to the tip. Leaf blade apices obtuse; not apiculate; apically rounded. Leaf blade margins flat; entire. Leaf blades not conspicuously bordered. The basal leaf cells more or less isodiametric; hexagonal, or rounded; smooth. The walls of basal leaf cells thin; straight. The angular cells not well differentiated. The mid-leaf cells more or less isodiametric; hexagonal, or rounded; smooth. The walls of the mid-leaf cells thin; sinuous.

Sporophyte. Capsules exserted; erect; symmetrical; ellipsoid; with an externally conspicuous apophysis (this very long, yellowish, succulent and tapering into the seta, according to Smith). The apophysis becoming conspicuously rugose and/or twisted. Capsules above the apophysis, smooth; without a peristome. The operculum conical to mamillate. Setae present, or absent (? - the morphological nature of the pedicel being unclear, with Dixon interpreting the pedicel as comprising apophysis only); straight.

Ecology. Occurring in acid conditions. Montane, on peaty soil in shaded rock crevices and scree.

British representation. 1 species. Oedipodium (Gouty-moss). Northern Scotland, southern Scotland, northern England, Wales, and Ireland.

Classification. Class Polytrichopsida; Order Tetraphidales.

Illustrations. • Oedipodium griffithianum. Oedipodium griffithianum. • Oedipodiaceae and Schistostegaceae: Berkeley.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2005 onwards. The moss families of the British Isles. Version: 21st June 2009.’.