BFNA Title: Buxbaumiaceae
Author: W. B. Schofield 
Date: May 3, 2004
Edit Level: R Brum+
Version: 1

Bryophyte Flora of North America, Provisional Publication
Missouri Botanical Garden

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W. B. Schofield


Plants microscopic, annual or perennial from persistent protonema.  Archegoniate plants composed of a perichaetium of a few, mainly non-chlorophyllose ecostate leaves that enclose very few archegonia.  Antheridial plants reduced to a 1-stratose, 2-lipped structure enclosing a single spherical antheridium, arising from a short branch of the protonema.  Seta elongate.  Capsule usually obliquely oriented, the upper face flat or bulging and often distinguished from the lower by a perimeter ridge, broadly ovate to lance-cylindric; operculum conic, nearly perpendicular to the upper face of the capsule;  peristome with endostome 16-pleated, a hyaline cone, exostome of one or more rows of articulated teeth, irregular in number, sometimes rudimentary. Calyptra smooth, conic, barely covering operculum, early deciduous.


Genera 1, species 12 (1 genus, 4 species in the flora): widely distributed in temperate to subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, scattered in the tropics, Australia, Pacific Islands (New Zealand).


SELECTED REFERENCES   Edwards, S. R.  1984.  Homologies and inter-relationships of moss peristomes: Buxbaumiaceae. In: R. M. Schuster, ed.  1983--1984. New Manual of Bryology.  2 vols. Nichinan.  Vol. 2, pp. 680--683.  



1. BUXBAUMIA Hedwig, Spec. Musc. Frond., 166. 1801  *  [For J. C. Buxbaum,  1693--1730, its discoverer]


Archegoniate plants of 1-stratose, ovate to ovate-lanceolate leaves,  leaves with ciliate or jagged margins. Seta erect, rough, red-brown when mature, 3--15 mm, bulging where it joins the oblique capsule.


Sporophytes appear autumn, capsules mature spring. Species 12 (4 in the flora): North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands (New Zealand).


Buxbaumia plants are unlikely to be seen unless sporophytes are present.  No other genus in North America is likely to be confused with it, as the characteristic obliquely oriented sporangium on an erect rough seta make it distinctive.



1. Upper face of capsule, when mature, with a shiny ridge bounding the margin of the face.

2. Capsule glossy, dark chestnut red-brown when mature, broadly ovoid, the face nearly perpendicular to the seta  . . . . 1. Buxbaumia aphylla

2. Capsule dull brown to greenish-brown when mature, narrowly ovoid, the face strongly oblique to the seta . . . . 3.  Buxbaumia piperi

1. Upper face of capsule, when mature, not or weakly bounded by a marginal ridge, but gradually merging with lower face            .

3. Exterior membrane of upper face of capsule splitting irregularly longitudinally and curling outward or inward, opalescent; capsule ovoid . . . . 4. Buxbaumia viridis

3. Exterior membrane of upper face intact when mature, not opalescent, generally dull; capsule narrowly ovoid to cylindric  . . . . 2. Buxbaumia minakatae


1. Buxbaumia aphylla Hedwig, Spec. Musc. Frond., 166.  1801


Seta 4--11 mm, straight. Capsule, when mature, broadly ovoid, 3--7 mm and nearly as wide, rich glossy chestnut brown, upper face flattened and sharply differentiated from the lower by a dark brown ridge, oblique or nearly at right angles to the seta. Spores 6--8 mm. 


Capsules mature late spring--autumn. Decaying wood, humus, sometimes shallow acid soil and soil depressions on rock outcrops, mainly in well-illuminated to somewhat shaded sites; widespread but rarely abundant, Alta. B.C., N.B., Nfld., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Alaska, Colo., Conn., Del., Ill., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Mont., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ore., Vt., Va., Wash.; Europe; Asia; Pacfic Islands (New Zealand).


SELECTED REFERENCE   Hancock, J. A. and G. R. Brassard.  1974.  Phenology, sporophyte production and life history of Buxbaumia aphylla in Newfoundland, Canada.    Bryologist 77: 501--513. 


2. Buxbaumia minakatae S. Okamura, Bot. Mag. (Tokyo) 25: 30, fig. 1.  1911


Buxbaumia subcylindrica Grout


Seta 3--5 mm, straight to somewhat arcuate. Capsule when mature narrowly ovoid to nearly cylindric, 3--5 mm, dull brown to rusty-brown, the upper face not strongly differentiated from the lower, slightly oblique to the seta or nearly erect.  Spores 12--13 mm. 


Capsules mature late summer--autumn. Soft decaying decorticated logs in deciduous to mixed forest; 20--150 m; very rare: Nfld., N.S., Ont.; Mass., Mich., N.Y., N.C., Vt .,Va..; e Asia (including far eastern Russia).


Buxbaumia piperi has occasionally been confused with this species, but the sporangium shape (narrowly ovate to cylindric) and the shorter, often arcuate seta separate B. minakatae; B. piperi has a longer, straight seta and ovate sporangium.  A report of Buxbaumia indusiata  l(A. J. Grout 1928--1940, vol. 1) was based on misidentifications of eastern North American material.


3. Buxbaumia piperi Best, Bull.Torrey Bot. Club 20: 116.  1893


Seta 3--6 mm, straight to somewhat arcuate.  Capsule when mature ovoid to narrowly ovoid, 3--5 mm, the upper face with a perimeter ridge differentiating it from the lower, dull brown to greenish brown, not glossy.  Spores 7--12 mm. 


Capsules mature late summer--autumn. Commonly on rotten decorticated logs, but also on humus banks, mainly subalpine but also occasionally to near sea level, mainly in coniferous forest; 5--1500 m; Alta., B.C.; Alaska, Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash.


This endemic species may resemble Buxbaumia aphylla, but the sporangium is never glossy chestnut when mature, but is dull and greenish-brown; the exostome is in 2--3 rows rather than one row as in B. aphylla.


SELECTED REFERENCE   Ligrone, R. R. et al.  1982.  Gametophyte and sporophyte ultrastructure in Buxbaumia piperi (Buxaumiaceae, Musci).  J. Hattori. Bot. Lab. 52: 465--499.




4. Buxbaumia viridis (de Candolle) de Candolle in J. B. Mougeot et al., Stirp. Crypt. Vogeso-Rhen. 8: no. 724.  1823


Buxbaumia aphylla var viridis de Candolle in J. Lamarck and A. P. de Candolle, Fl. Franç. ed. 3, 6: 227.  1815; B. indusiata Bridel


Seta 5--10 mm, straight.  Capsule, when mature, ovoid, 3--5 mm, stamineous to opalescent and glossy, oblique face gradually differentiated from the lower, with the exterior membrane splitting longitudinally and incurved or curved outward when drying.  Spores 8--12 mm. 


Capsules mature late summer--autumn. Decorticated wood or humus banks in coniferous forest; mainly at subalpine elevations; Alta., B.C.; Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash.; Europe.