“tiny tornado moss”
How to recognize Tortella humilis: Clumps of this tiny little moss change appearance greatly from moist to dry. When dry the leaves contort and twist; and when wet they open up and look like tiny plants. The 2.5-4 mm long leaves have a single midrib, which reaches all the way to the tiny apiculus on the end of the oblong-lanceolate leaf. The cells at the base of the leaf are rectangular and hyaline (clear) and contrast greatly with the dark green quadrate multipapillose cells on the rest of the leaf. The hyaline cells extend farther up the margins forming a V-shaped border. Its sister moss Tortella tortuosa has a longer leaf with the costa extending into an elongated apiculate leaf tip; its leaf margins are wavy and when dry it twists into a spiral shape.
Where to find Tortella humilis: Look for this moss on humus at the base of trees, and on limestone such as found in old tombstones.