BFNA Title: Calliergonella
Author: N. Miller
Date: January 8, 2010
Edit Level: R
Version: 1

Bryophyte Flora of North America, Provisional Publication
Missouri Botanical Garden

BFNA Web site:


Return to Home

X.  CALLIERGONELLA  Loeske, Hedwigia 50: 248.  1911 *  [Diminutive of Calliergon,

      Greek, kallos, beauty, and ergon, a work or product, hence a small work of beauty]

Norton G. Miller   


Plants lustrous, yellow-green or brownish, pinnately to sub-pinnately branched, stem and branch apices usually turgid, ± terete; axillary hairs with one short, brown basal cell and 2--6 longer hyaline cells; pseudoparaphyllia foliose.  Stems flattened in cross section, central strand present, sometimes poorly developed, inner cortical cells large, thin walled, outer cortical cells in 3--4 layers of smaller thick-walled cells, hyalodermis present, outer walls thin; rhizoids arising from ventral stem surface near leaf bases.  Stem and branch leaves dimorphic, ± concave, apex of both usually cuspidate or, if not, obtuse; stem leaves ovate, broad, short, apex acute and weakly cuspidate to rounded, costa short and double, mostly inconspicuous or absent, alar cells abruptly inflated, cells immediately above alar group often ± quadrate and thicker-walled, inner basal cells shortly elongate, thick-walled; branch leaves entire, lanceolate, longer than stem leaves, apex usually cuspidate; laminal cells in leaves of both types variable, short and weakly sinuose at apex, long-flexuose-sinuose at mid leaf, short and wide with walls pitted at base, stem leaves ovate, branch leaves lanceolate; alar cells inflated and in a conspicuous ± auriculate group; costa short and double or absent.  Sexual condition dioicous.  Perichaetia in leaf axils, inner leaves becoming long-lanceolate, plicate, margins weakly serrate toward the base, costa absent, perichaetial leaf apices flaring at archegonial maturity. Perigonia axillary, budlike, apices of perigonial leaves flaring.  Capsule arcuate, horizontal,  exothecial cells collenchymatous, annulus differentiated, in 2--4 rows, operculum conic-apiculate; exostome teeth bordered, outer surface papillose distally and striolate basally, endostome basal membrane high, segments keeled, perforate, cilia 2--4.   Spores finely punctate. 


Species 1:  North America, West Indies, South America, Europe, Asia, n Africa, Australia, Atlantic Islands, Pacific Islands. 


SELECTED REFERENCES   Hedenäs, L.  1990 (1992).  Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on the genera Calliergonella and Breidleria.  Lindbergia 16: 161--168.  Karczmarz, K.  1971 (1972).  A monograph of the genus Calliergon (Sull.) Kindb.  Monogr. Bot. 34: 1--209 + pls. 1--20.


1.  Calliergonella cuspidata (Hedwig) Loeske, Hedwigia 50: 248.  1911


Hypnum cuspidatum Hedwig, Sp. Musc. Frond., 254. 1801; Calliergon cuspidatum (Hedwig) Kindberg


Plants to 7 cm, erect or semi-erect to decumbent in loose tufts or mats, pinnately branched when growing erect, irregularly branched when decumbent. Seta long, ± erect, smooth.   Calyptra cucullate. 


Circum-neutral (calcareous) wetlands, including moderately rich fens, often among sedges; lake margins; roadside ditches; and as a weed in lawns; Alaska, B.C., Alta., Ont., Que., N.B., P.E.I., N.S., Nfld. and Labr.; Calif., Conn., Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Mass., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Mich., Minn., Mo., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., Tenn., Vt., Wis., Wyo., Wash,; Mexico; West Indies (Jamaica);

South America; Europe; Asia; n Africa; Australia, Atlantic Islands (Iceland); Pacific Islands (New Zealand).

As emphasized by L. Hedenäs (1990) Calliergonella cuspidata shares with Hypnum lindbergii Mitten (Calliergonella lindbergii (Mitten) Hedenäs) features such as similar appendiculate endostome cilia, not or slightly denticulate stem and perichaetial leaves, hyaline alar cells in a well-defined group, broad and obtuse pseudoparaphyllia, and, when dry, a plicate capsule wall.  Also, in molecular phylogenies, both species group together (M. S. Ignatov et al. 2007; H. Tsubota et al. 2002; A. Vanderpoorten et al. 2002).  However, the significance of these latter findings is uncertain, especially in regard to family placement, as a result of limited gene and incomplete taxon sampling.  In this flora, C. lindbergii is treated under Hypnum.

Plants of Calliergonella cuspidata are highly variable, in common with many wetland mosses.  The typical, semierect, pinnate habit is developed at sites where the water table is high, while decumbent, irregularly branched habits are found in wetlands where the water table fluctuates.   Oddly, plants of mesic lawns are often semierect and pinnate.  K. Karczmarz (1971) applied formal names for much of the vegetative variation in this moss, but his varieties and forms are of little taxonomic value and otherwise not generally followed.  Calliergonella conardii E. Lawton belongs in the synonymy of Fontinalis hypnoides Hartm. (Miller in preparation).

Occurring widely in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, Calliergonella cuspidata in the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and California and in the Northeast, is established commonly on managed residential lawns and in those of cemeteries.  Therefore, in these regions its native habitat and range are not entirely clear.  It is naturalized in Jamaica in plantations.  Sporophytes are rare, even when male and female plants grow together, as, for example, in northern Michigan.


Hedenäs, L.  1990 [pub. 1992].  Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on the genera Calliergonella and Breidleria.  Lindbergia 16: 161--168.


Ignatov, M. S., A. A. Gardiner, V. K. Bobrova, I. A. Milyutina, S. Huttunen, and A. V. Troitsky.  2007.  On the relationships of mosses of the order Hypnales, with special reference to taxa traditionally classified in the Leskeaceae.  In: A. E. Newton and R. S. Tangney, eds.  Pleurocarpous mosses, systematics and evolution.  Systematics Association Special Volume Series 71.  Pp. 177--213.


Karczmarz, K.  1971 [1972].  A monograph of the genus Calliergon (Sull.) Kindb.  Monographiae  Botanicae 34.  209 pp.   pls. I--XX.


Tsubota, H., T. Arikawa, H. Akiyama, E. De Luna, D. Gonzalez, M. Higuchi, and H. Deguchi.  2002.  Molecular phylogeny of hypobryalean mosses as inferred from a large-scale dataset of chloroplast rbcL, with special reference to the Hypnaceae and possibly related families.  Hikobia 13: 645--665.


Vanderpoorten, A., L. Hedenäs, C. Cox, and A. J. Shaw.  2002.  Phylogeny and morphological evolution of the Amblystegiaceae (Bryopsida).  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 23: 1--21.