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Moist hardwood forests. On soil or humus of shaded banks. Sometimes on rocks.
Throughout North America. Also occurs in Europe, China, and Japan.
Dioecious perennial moss with persistent protenema. Leaves dark green to blackish, broadly ligulate, erect-spreading; contorted and rigid when dry; vegetative leaves blunt; costa of perichaetial leaves excurrent as a long, brown awn. Capsules nearly sessile, greenish yellow maturing to brown, about 3 mm long.
Easily recognized for the relatively large capsules nestled amongst the rather short, dark leaves. The name "power gun moss" is for the design of the capsule; a raindrop hitting the broad upper surface will result in a puff of spores being emitted. Capsules tend to point in the direction of maximal light. Crum places this genus in the family Diphysciaceae.
Crum, H. 2004. Mosses of the Great Lakes Forest, 4th ed.
The University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI
USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Michael Hough © 2009