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1. Mosses of Upland Forest Floor

There are seven mosses which together cover most of our forest floor upland from the riparian zone. The diversity is low in this habitat but the biomass is high. Open forests have a nearly 100% cover of terrestrial mosses. These are all quite large mosses easy to learn to recognize in the field. These are arranged by their drought tolerance, from the most moisture requiring to the most drought tolerant. Note that the limit is on the dry end: drought tolerant species like Trachybryum megaptilum do very well in moister habitats but the reverse is not true for moist forest mosses like Hylocomium splendens. It is coincidence that this gradient happens to also be alphabetical. It is accidental and will not work when Trachybryum is returned to the genus Homalothecium as expected in the Flora of North America volume expected to appear in 2013.

Left: Colony on log. Right: Single shoot showing stairstep growth form.

Hylocomium splendens

Left: Typical form. Right: Thrifty form of drier forests.

Kindbergia oregana

Left: Colony on forest floor. Right: Demonstrating its dendroid form, new shoots arising from base.

Leucolepis acanthoneura

More common near coast and in moist forests.

Rhytidiadelphus loreus

Left: An extremely common species with very wide ecological range. Called dragon moss in Eugene area. Right: Closeup showing rugose leaf; rugose means crumpled like a sheet slept on for two weeks.

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus

Restricted to elevations over 3000 feet.

Rhytidiopsis robusta

Left: Growing here with Kindbergia oregana. This is how it looks when wet. Right: When dry the shoot tips are shiny golden.

Homalothecium (Trachybryum) megaptilum

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Copyright 2011 Northwest Botanical Institute