Pogonatum pensylvanicum
“algal haircap moss”

Pogonatum pensylvanicum growing on soil between rocks at someplace

Pogonatum pensylvanicum growing on soil between rocks.
Shade River State Forest. Meigs County, Ohio. Notice the green protonema covering the soil.

How to recognize algal haircap moss:  Pogonatum pensylvanicum is one of the most easily recognized bryophytes. In this species, the filamentous alga-like stage of the life cycle called the “protonema” which in most other mosses is just a short-lived transitory stage occurring between the spore and the gametophyte, is instead persistent and long-lived. The gametophytes are quite small, as a large proportion of the photosynthesis is carried out by the protonema. The sporophytes are large and the young cylindrical capsules are covered with a hairy calyptra, looking much like those of the haircap mosses (also in the family Polytrichaceae).

Where to see algal haircap moss:  Pogonatum pensylvanicum occurs on moist bare soil, often on streambanks, in wooded area. Sporophytes mature in late summer/fall.