BFNA Title: Cirriphyllum
Author: Michael S. Ignatov
Date:September 23, 2008
August 3, 2010
Edit Level: R2 
Version: 1

Bryophyte Flora of North America, Provisional Publication
Missouri Botanical Garden
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XX. Cirriphyllum Grout, Bull. Torrey Bot. Cl. 25: 222. 1898 * [from Latin cirrus, curling lock of hair, and Greek phyllon, leaf].

Michael S. Ignatov

Plants large, in loose, soft tufts, light or whitish green, glossy. Stems prostrate, with central strand, densely to moderately densely terete-foliate, regularly pinnately branched, branches straight, terete-foliate; axillary hairs 3--5-celled. Stem leaves closely imbricate near ends of shoots, loosely imbricate below to somewhat spaced, erect, ovate or elliptic proximally and abruptly contracted into a long, filiform acumen, slightly rounded to base, long and broadly decurrent, strongly concave, not or slightly plicate; margin plane distally, recurved in proximal half of basal part of leaf, serrate to serrulate; costa reaching 0.3--0.6\x leaf length, lacking a terminal spine; juxtacostal basal cells shorter and sometimes broader, thick-walled, not conspicuously delimited; alar cells subquadrate, enlarged, forming a pellucid, triangular group, abruptly delimited from laminal cells and reaching about half way to costa; medial cells linear, thick-walled, and, in proximal part of leaf, sometimes strongly porose. Branch leaves similar to stem leaves but smaller and narrower, or often more gradually tapered and twisted just before apex, more strongly serrate distally. Sexual condition dioicous; perichaetial leaves abruptly contracted to long, reflexed acumens. Seta dark brown, rough. Capsule brown, inclined to horizontal, ovate to elongate, slightly curved; annulus separating by fragments; operculum long-rostrate; peristome xerocastique, perfect. Calyptra naked.


Species 3 (1 in the flora): North America, Eurasia, Africa, Atlantic Islands; widespread throughout boreal to north temperate zones and subalpine regions.


A. J. Grout (1898) segregated Cirriphyllum from Eurhynchium, accepting four species in North America. H. Robinson (1962) transferred Cirriphyllum cirrosum and C. brandegei to Brachythecium and C. illecebrum to Bryoandersonia. The phylogenetic analyses of M. S. Ignatov and S. Huttunen (2002) and M. S. Ignatov et al. (2008) support these transfers. Cirriphyllum boscii is a synonym of Bryoandersonia illecebra.


SELECTED REFERENCE: Grout, A. J. 1898. A revision of the North American Eurhynchia. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 25: 221--256.


1. Cirriphyllum piliferum (Hedwig) Grout, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 25: 225. 1898


Hypnum piliferum Hedwig, Sp. Musc. Frond., 275. 1801.


Stems to 10 cm, branches to 15 mm. Stem leaves 1.8--2.6 x 1--1.5 mm, laminal cells 50--110 x 6--10 um. Branch leaves to 2 x 0.7 mm. Seta 10--30 mm. Capsule 2--2.5 mm. Spores 12--15 \um.


Capsules mature in winter and early spring, occasionally summer or fall. Soil, humus, duff, decaying wood, occasionally limestone, in mesic to wet forests, ravine slopes, tall-herb vegetation; 0--450 m; N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., Ont.; Alaska, Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Wis.; Europe; Asia; n Africa.


Cirriphyllum piliferum is easy to recognize by its rather large size, usually pure green and somewhat whitish color, and the regular pinnate branching. The concave-inflated and closely imbricate distal leaves are abruptly contracted into filiform acumens, resulting in a peculiar appearance when they stand at a sharp, broad angle from the upper shoot (when wet, as it is usually occurs in the field). When a shoot is examined with a dark background behind it, the acumens are usually easily visible, allowing for ready field identification. Brachythecium (Cirriphyllum) cirrosum differs from C. piliferum (1) in the more abruptly contracted leaves, so the leaves are more strongly piliferous, and the branch leaves that do not differ much in this regard from stem leaves, whereas in C. piliferum, the branch leaves are not or at least less strongly piliferous, (2) the irregular branching (fairly regular in C. piliferum), (3) the usual yellow color of the plants (usually green in C. piliferum), and (4) rather small alar cells (enlarged in C. piliferum). In addition, the distribution of the two species rarely overlaps in North America, and their ecology is very different.




Ignatov, M. S. and S. Huttunen 2002 [2003]. Brachytheciaceae (Bryophyta)---a family of sibling genera. Arctoa 11: 245--296.


Ignatov, M. S., I.A. Milyutina, and V.K. Bobrova 2008 [2009]. Problematic groups of the Brachythecium and Eurhynchiastrum (Brachytheciaceae, Bryophyta) and solutions suggested by nrITS sequences. Arctoa 17: 143--164.


Robinson, H. 1962 [1963]. Generic revisions of North American Brachytheciaceae. Bryologist 65: 73--146.