Pleuridium subulatum

Pleuridium subulatum photo by Bob Klips

Pleuridium subulatum on ground in newly-planted prairie in Marion County, Ohio. April 2, 2010.

How to recognize Pleuridium subulatum:  This moss grows in small tufts. This is one of the ephemeral “pygmy” mosses, which lives only for part of a year on disturbed bare ground. It starts to grow in late fall and produces capsules in spring. The leaves are 1-2 mm long and have a single costa which extends into the subula (long, slender needle-like point). The leaves at the base of the plant are triangular and don’t have the long subula. The capsule is egg shaped and about 1 mm long on a very short seta so that it is immersed in the surrounding leaves; it is also cleistocarpous, and opens by the breakdown of its wall in an irregular tear.

Where to find Pleuridium subulatum:  It can be found on bare disturbed soil next to fields, or in old fields, lawns, and stream banks in the spring.