MOSSES NEW AND RARE FOR
NEW YORK STATE
P. M. ECKEL
Weissia hedwigii, Pottia truncata var. major, and
Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula are reported as new to
the flora of New York
State. Pottia starkeana
ssp. minutula may be a weedy introduction from the Old
World. The occurrence of Desmatodon porteri is confirmed
for the State.
Words: Musci, floristics, Weissia hedwigii, Pottia truncata
var. major, Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula, Desmatodon
porteri; New York
have been collected by western New
botanists throughout the past 125 years, much remains to be learned about the
regional distribution of these plants. The following reports represent three
additions to the State flora and confirmation of a literature citation. All
specimens cited are deposited at BUF.
Weissia hedwigii Crum
specimen of Weissia, found misfiled in BUF, proved to be a moss new to
New York State (cf. Ketchledge, 1980). The
material was in fruit and demonstrated the reduced capsule mouth of Weissia
hedwigii Crum (= Weissia microstomum (Hedw.) C.
Muell. of most reports). Crum and Andersen (1981) reported this species as
rare in northeastern North America. The
gametophyte is much like Weissia controversa and Astomum
spp., but the sporophyte is exserted and lacks a peristome.
EXAMINED. USA, New York, Niagara Co.: Wheatfield, I mile N ofNY 429 on US 62,
grassy field, roadside, on clay with grasses. Zander 4819.
Desmatodon porteri James ex Aust.
Specimens of Desmatodon
porteri James ex Aust. were also encountered at BUF both as part of
collections of bryophytes made in western New York in the 1970's by Ann
Glowny, a worker at the Buffalo Museum of Science with a special interest in
bryology, and among the collections made in the Niagara River gorge in 1976
by the present curator of botany at BUF, R. H. Zander.
listed only a literature report for this species in New York State.
Crum and Andersen (1981) reported that the "original collections [of
this taxon] were made on rocks at College Hill, Easton, Pa. (Thomas C.
Porter), and at Niagara Falls (George W. Clinton)," although whether in
Canada or the United States was not specified for the latter. This moss is
confined to eastern North America where it
is infrequent (Crum and Andersen, 1981). I have found it to be locally
abundant on limestone boulders in shaded, moist stations in limestone gorges
and ravines of the Niagara region in Canada
and the United States.
EXAMINED. USA, New York, Niagara Co.:
City of Niagara Falls, gorge of the Niagara River, below the Devil's Hole, bottom of
W-facing slope, rock, with Didymodon rigidulus. Zander 3509a.
Erie Co.: Amherst,
corner of Millersport and Eggert Rds, calcareous rock in copse. Zander
s.n.; limestone of escarpment, Scotland Rd. by Akron Airport, Glowny
11042; limestone outcrop on Scotland Rd. near Akron Airport, Newstead,
Glowny 1169; Newstead, Akron Falls of Murder Creek, on Onondaga
Escarpment, calcareous boulder. Zander 4233. Genesee Co.: Darien, Colby Rd. and Rt.
20, Glowny 240.
Pottia truncata var. major (Web.
& Mohr) BSG.
Pottia truncata var. major was also
discovered in the Niagara Gorge. Although P. truncata var. turncata
appears in the New York
checklist (Ketchledge, 1980), var. major does not. There is
considerable difference of opinion whether var. major is best
recognized as a variety of P. truncata or as a species, (viz. P.
intermedia (Turn.) Fuernr.). Recently Chamberlain (1978) discussed P.
intermedia in Europe as a possible
hybrid between P. truncata and P. lanceolata
(Hedw.) C. Muell., since it frequently grew with one or both species. Pottia
lanceolata, however, has not yet been found in North
America. Crum and Anderson (1981) maintained the varietal status
of this material, citing the intergradation evident in American populations.
I recently found both varieties of P. truncata growing in
proximity with one another on the Niagara
gorge crest on the Canadian side; the typical variety was easily
distinguished from var. major with the unaided eye. At this locality the
typical variety was growing on thin, dense limy clay over exposed dolomite.
This clay has resisted colonization by vascular plants for several years.
Variety major, however, grew on loose soil with grasses. Visits to
this station in subsequent years produced specimens of var. truncata
only on the clay, and no mosses on the disturbed humic soils.
(1978) mentioned that Pottia truncata var. truncata has
"Occasional gigas forms, about twice the size of typical plants with
larger spores ... encountered either as solitary plants in a normal
population or as a pure population." One possibility is that two taxa are
involved: P. intermedia may be a European species, and American
P. truncata var. major may be the gigas form of var. truncata
noted by Chamberlain (1978).
EXAMINED. USA, New York, Niagara Co.:
City of Niagara Falls, gorge of Niagara River,
between steps at Whirlpool
Park and the Whirlpool,
halfway up dolomite talus slope, with Didymodon rigidulus var. rigidulus,
Encalypta procera, Tortula mucronifolia, Echel 522386.
Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula
(Schleich. ex Schwaegr.) Chamberl.
A patch of moss
with a reddish cast growing on the margin of a lawn where thin soil lay upon
the exposed dolomite bedrock at the crest of the Niagara River Gorge proved
to be a population of Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula
(Schleich. ex Schwaegr.) Chamberl., new to New York State
(cf. Ketchledge, 1980).
Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula has
been frequently discussed (as P. davalliana) by Canadian
bryologists, since this moss is fairly common in Ontario (C. Williams, 1966; H. Williams,
1959, 1961; Ireland & Cain, 1975). Three stations in Michigan were noted by Crum and Anderson
(1981). The present reports for western New York State
seem in keeping with the association of this species with calcareous,
disturbed soil derived from limestone or dolomitic bedrock at or close to the
surface. This substrate is common to all stations cited in the literature.
A study of
species of Pottia with erostrate opercula by Chamberlain (1969) led
him to the conclusion that two North American species, Pottia davalliana
(Sm. ex Drake) C. Jens. and P. texana Wareh. were P. starkeana
ssp. minutula and ssp. cornea, respectively. Crum and Anderson
(1981) considered these taxa (P. davalliana and P. texana)
distinct, with stations of P. davalliana in Michigan
and P. texana in western and southern regions.
There is a lack
of consensus on the distribution of Pottia davalliana from P.
texana. Floristic treatments, such as that of Mahler (1980) for Texas mosses, have
treated P. texana as synonymous with P. davalliana
probably following Williams (1961). Williams (1961) could find examples of Ontario collections
with intermediate morphology. Crum (1969) indicated that P. texana
was both morphologically and geographically distinct from P. davalliana.
Stations reported as P. davalliana or P. texana
have been given for California, Texas, and Baja California
(Williams, 1961). Two publications cite collections of P. davalliana
(Koch, 1971; O'Keefe van der Linden and Farrar, 1983). All the collections made
outside of Michigan and Ontario
may instead be P. texana (note the citation from Nebraska "on soil
of floodplain, sand-pit lakes" by Crum and Anderson, 1981). Zander
(1986, in preparation) recognized only Pottia starkeana ssp. conica
(= P. texana) as occurring in Mexico, further emphasizing the
southern and western distribution of this taxon.
It is significant
that Pottia starkeana ssp. minutula (= P. davalliana)
occurs in Michigan, Ontario
and New York
on immature and disturbed soils associated with limestone pavements, an area
north of the glacial boundaries. There is a possibility that P. starkeana
ssp. minutula is not endemic to the North American moss flora, but is
instead a weedy introduction from the Old World where the subspecies occurs
throughout north and central Europe (Smith, 1978). The weedy character of
this species (as P. davalliana) was hypothesized for Australia by
EXAMINED. USA, New York, Niagara Co.:
City of Niagara Falls, gorge of Niagara River, Devil's Hole, upper pavement
in dolomite caprock overlooking the river, Eckel 631685;
Genesee Co.: Alabama, bare soil in wasteland, N side of West Shore RR, E side
of Morgan Rd., S of Rt. 63, west of Alabama-Oakfield town line, immature with
calyptra, Glowny 932.
I thank Richard Zander for making specimens available for
this report. Permission to collect in the Niagara River Gorge was kindly
granted by the Niagara Parks Commission, Ontario, and the Niagara Frontier State
Park Commission, a division of the New York State Department of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation. This research was funded in part by a
grant from the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.
CATCHESIDE, D. G. 1980.
Mosses of South Australia.
State Information Centre, Adelaide,
CHAMBERLAIN, D. F. 1969.
New combinations in Pottia starkeana. Notes Royal Bot.
Card. Edinburgh 29: 403-404.
1978. Pottia. In:
A. J. E. Smith, Ed., The Moss Flora of Britain
CRUM, H. A.
1969. Nomenclatural Notes on
North American Mosses. Bryologist 72:240-246.
_____ AND L. E. ANDERSON. 1981. Mosses of Eastern
North America. Columbia
University Press, New York.
IRELAND, R. R. AND R. F. CAIN. 1975.
Checklist of the Mosses of Ontario.
National Museums of Canada
Publications in Botany No. 5. Ottawa.
KETCHLEDGE, E. H. 1980.
Revised Checklist of the Mosses of New York State.
New York State Mus. Bull. 440. Albany.
1971. Pottiaceae in Nebraska. Bryologist
MAHLER, W. F. 1980.
The Mosses of Texas.
Computer-generated text from the Herbarium of the Southern Methodist
University, Dallas, Texas.
O'KEEFE VAN DER LINDEN, J. AND D. R. FARRAR. 1983.
An ecological study of the bryophytes of a natural prairie in
Bryologist 86: 1-13.
SMITH, A. J. E. 1978.
The Moss Flora of Britain
1966. Pottia intermedia
new to North America. Bryologist 69:
1959. Phascum floerkeanum
Bryologist 62: 55-57.
1961. Pottia davalliana
in Ontario and elsewhere in North America. Bryologist 64:47-50.
ZANDER, R. H. 1986.
Pottiaceae. In: Moss Flora of Mexico, A. Sharp, H. Crum &
P. Eckel, Eds. In preparation.
BUFFALO MUSEUM OF SCIENCE
BUFFALO, NY 14211