How to recognize sword moss: Bryoxiphium norvegicum is one of the few mosses with leaves that are arranged in two straight rows on opposite sides of the stem. Unlike the other principal 2-ranked moss, Fissidens, the leaves of which are peculiarly split along one side, sword moss leaves are simple and elongate. The stems are unbranched, and grow attached to vertical sandstone.
Where to see sword moss: Bryoxiphium is found in several continents but is globally quite rare. We are lucky in Ohio to be able to find it fairly easily in in cool shaded perennially moist rockhouses (“grottos”) of the southern portion of the state.