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BFNA | Family List | BFNA Vol. 2 | Leskeaceae

Leskea Hedwig, Species Muscorum. 211. 1801.
[for Gottfried Leske of Leipzig]

Paul L. Redfearn, Jr.

Plants small, in pale green, dark-green or brownish mats. Stems sparsely radiculose, freely to subpinnately branched. Branches horizontal to ascending, straight to somewhat curved at tips. Paraphyllia few, linear-lanceolate. Leaves of stems and branches ± similar, erect or somewhat recurved when dry, erect spreading when moist, somewhat asymmetric, oblong-ovate or ovate-lanceolate, plicate on one side, 2-plicate or plane; margins plane or ± recurved proximally, entire, serrulate to subserrulate distally; costa subpercurrent or ending before apex, often flexuose-curved distally; distal laminal cells 4--11 µm, irregularly quadrate-hexagonal, thick-walled, obscure, ± unipapillose on abaxial or both surfaces; proximal laminal cells somewhat longer than distal cells, proximal marginal cells subquadrate. Sexual condition autoicous; perichaetial leaves elongate, erect, pale-brown, acuminate. Seta 4--12 mm, yellow, pale-brown, orange-brown to reddish. Capule symmetric to distinctly curved, cylindric to oblong-cylindric; operculum bluntly conic; stomata present; annulus narrow or absent; exostome teeth incurved when dry, linear-lanceolate, whitish or yellow, densely papillose throughout or, more often, cross-striolate near the base; endostome erect wet or dry, pale, papillose, consisting of a low basal membrane, segments long linear, somewhat keeled, perforate (sometimes rudimentary), cilia none or rudimentary. Calyptra smooth, naked. Spores 9--18 μm, smooth to very finely papillose.

Species 24 (4 in the flora): North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia.

Plants of this genus occur in terrestrial habitats in temperate, subtropical and tropical regions.


Anderson, L., H. A. Crum and W. R. Buck. 1990. List of the mosses of North America north of Mexico, Bryologist 93: 448--449. Crosby, M. R., R. E. Magill, B. Allen and S. He. 1999. A Checklist of Mosses. p. 143. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. Crum, H. and L. E. Anderson. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2 vols. Pp. 840--847. New York. Ireland, R. R. 1982. Moss flora of the Maritime Provinces. Ottawa, National Museums of Canada. Pp. 438--439. Seppelt, R. D. and G. A. Laursen. 2003. Leskea polycarpa Hedw., new to the moss flora of Alaska. Evansia 19: 148--152. Vitt, D. H. 1982. Bryopsida. In: S. P. Parker, Ed.-In-chief, Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms. New York. P. 324.


Leskea angustata Taylor is cited for the flora area by L. E. Anderson et al. (1990). However, no voucher specimens or other literature citations of Leskea angustata for the area have been seen. It is consequently excluded from this treatment.

1 Branch leaves 0.2--0.5 mm; distal laminal cells 4--7 µm.   Leskea australis
+ Branch leaves 0.4--0.8 mm; distal laminal cells 6--11 µm.   (2)
2 (1) Stem leaves clearly different from branch leaves, longer than broad, ± obliquely acuminate and subsecund at the tips; branches usually somewhat curved at tip; capsules subcylindric, distinctly curved.   Leskea polycarpa
+ Stem and branch leaves similar, leaves not much longer than broad, not oblique or subsecund at tips; branches not distinctly curved at tip; capsules oblong, straight, or slightly curved.   (3)
3 (2) Stem and branch leaves loosely foliate, rounded to rounded-obtuse at apex, not plicate to occasionally slightly plicate, margins not recurved; endostome segments less than half as long as exostome teeth; operculum rounded conic, blunt at apex.   Leskea obscura
+ Stem and branch leaves, ± tightly foliate, acute to sometimes bluntly pointed, not rounded at apex, ± 2-plicate, margins irregularly recurved in proximal half, especially when dry; endostome segments about as long as the exostome teeth; operculum rounded-conic, ± pointed.   Leskea gracilescens

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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Flora of North America  
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