moss-Thelia asprella

Thelia asprella
“alligator moss”

Thelia asprella. Edge of Appalachia, Adams County, Ohio. October 3, 2014

Thelia asprella. Edge of Appalachia, Adams County, Ohio. October 3, 2014

Thelia asprella

Thelia asprella. Edge of Appalachia. Adams County, Ohio. October 3. 2014.

Thelia asprella habitat

Thelia asprella habitat at Edge of Appalachia, Adams County Ohio. October 3, 2016.

Thelia asprella

Thelia asprella capsules. Edge of Appalachia. Adams County, Ohio. October 3. 2014.

Thelia asprella

Thelia asprella branches. Edge of Appalachia. Adams County, Ohio. October 3. 2014.

Thelia asprella

Thelia asprella leaf. from Edge of Appalachia. Adams County, Ohio. October 3. 2014.

How to recognize alligator moss:  Thelia asprella forms flat mats of pinnate branches that are julaceous (worm-shaped), with only the leaf tips sticking out; these branches occasionally extend upwards. The stems have many rhizoids, or brown filaments that help anchor the plants to the tree. Stem leaves are similar in shape but slightly longer than the 1 mm branch leaves.  The leaves are triangular ovate with an abrupt apiculus or thin extension at the leaf tip. The margins are covered with papillose cilia, and cells have single branched bumps or papillae on the back of the leaf. These papillae may have 3 or more branches. The beauty of these leaves and their intricate design must be seen under the microscope to be appreciated.

Where to find alligator moss: Thelia asprella is found on bark on the base of trees throughout the eastern United States.


Thelia-asprella-simplemap

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