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Philonotis Bridel, Bryol. Univ. 2:15. 1827.

[Greek philos, lover; notis, moisture]

Dana Griffin, III

Plants small to robust, hygrophilic, glaucous to whitish green or yellowish green, in dense to lax tufts. Stems 0.5--10(--16) cm, erect, simple, forked or with a subfloral whorl of branches, more or less tomentose proximally; epidermis of large, thin walled, hyaline cells, often with exterior wall collapsed. Leaves in many rows, rarely in 5 distinct rows, 1- stratose, erect-spreading or somewhat secund when dry, erect-spreading to spreading when moist, broadly to narrowly lanceolate, acute to acuminate, rarely obtuse; margins plane or revolute, serrulate usually throughout, teeth single or paired; costa subpercurrent to excurrent, smooth or rough abaxially; distal laminal cells subquadrate to oblong or linear, prorulose at distal or proximal ends on both surfaces, rarely smooth or with a centric papilla; basal cells usually more lax than distal cells; alar cells not or slightly differentiated. Specialized asexual reproduction lacking or small deciduous brood branches in axils of distal leaves. Sexual condition dioicous, less frequently autoicous or rarely synoicous; perigonia gemmiform or discoid; perigonial leaves scarcely or clearly distinct from stem leaves; perichaetia terminal or lateral by innovations; perichaetial leaves scarcely distinct from stem leaves. Seta solitary, usually elongate, straight or flexuose, rarely curved. Capsule globose to ovoid, erect to horizontal to inclined, furrowed or rarely irregularly wrinkled, mouth oblique; annulus none; operculum conic convex, blunt to mammillate or bluntly apiculate; peristome double or rarely lacking; teeth lanceolate, dark red to reddish brown, densely and finely papillose, trabeculate, typically with rounded to ovoid thickenings on interior surface; endostome yellowish to pale brown; basal membrane well developed; segments keeled, vertically striate papillose; cilia 1--3, well developed or rudimentary. Spores spherical to reniform, densely and usually coarsely papillose.

Species 178 (11 in the flora): worldwide except Antarctica..

Philonotis will be recognized by the 1-stratose leaves and the subfloral whorl of branches on fertile plants. While leaf cells are typically prorulose, sterile stems, especially when subject to periodic inundation, may bear leaves with smooth cells.


Crum, H.A. and L.E. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America, vol. 1. New York. Florschűtz, P. A. 1964. The Mosses of Suriname, part 1. Leiden. Flowers, S. 1935. Philonotis. In: A. J. Grout, ed., Moss Flora of North America. Newfane, Vermont. Ireland, R. R. 1982. Moss Flora of the Maritime Provinces, Publications in Botany 13, National Museums of Canada. Ottawa. Nyholm, E. 1954. Illustrated Moss Flora of Fennoscandia II. Musci. Gleerup. Lund. Zales, W. M. 1973. A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Philonotis for North America north of Mexico, Ph.D. dissertation (unpubl.). University of British Columbia. Vancouver.

1 Synoicous; seta curved; mature capsules wrinkled to more or less smooth; plants small.   Philonotis cernua
+ Autoicous or dioicous; seta straight or flexuose; mature capsules furrowed; plants small to robust.   (2)
2 (1) Leaf cells with a centric papilla.   Philonotis yezoana
+ Leaf cells prorulose from one or both ends or, occasionally, prorulae obscure or absent.   (3)
3 (2) Costa subpercurrent; some or most leaves broadly acute or rounded-obtuse; laminal cells smooth or prorulose at distal end; plants small and delicate.   Philonotis gracillima
+ Costa percurrent to long-excurrent; leaves acute to acuminate (rarely with some leaves obtuse and costa subpercurrent, in which case laminal cells prorulose at proximal end); plants small to robust.   (4)
4 (3) Leaf cells prorulose at proximal end or, occasionally, at either end on adaxial side.   (5)
+ Leaf cells prorulose at distal end throughout or, occasionally, at both ends on abaxial side.   (7)
5 (4) Leaves spirally imbricate, seriate; costa coarsely prorulose abaxially from tip to base; Greenland.   Philonotis seriata
+ Leaves not or rarely spirally imbricate, not seriate; costa smooth or only weakly prorulose abaxially, distally.   (6)
6 (5) Plants robust; costa 300--600 µm wide at base; cells near costa at widest part of leaf 48--100 µm; perigonial leaves acute; Greenland.   Philonotis calcarea
+ Plants small to robust; costa to 320 µm wide at base; cells near costa at widest part of leaf 24-40 µm; perigonial leaves obtuse or, if acute, then stem leaves with long-excurrent costa.   Philonotis fontana
7 (4) Leaf cells elongate (5--20:1), in longitudinal rows.   (8)
+ Leaf cells quadrate (1:1) to rectangular (1--4:1), in less obvious longitudinal rows.   (9)
8 (7) Leaves longly triangular-lanceolate, straight or falcate, flat; cells long and narrow (9--20:1); prorulae pointed, projecting at extreme distal end of cell; autoicous.   Philonotis longiseta
+ Leaves triangular to slightly ovate-lanceolate, keeled; cells rectangular (less than 9:1); prorulae rounded, near distal end of cells; dioicous.   Philonotis marchica
9 (7) Prorulae conspicuous, numerous; leaf margins strongly revolute, scabrous, marginal teeth sharp; costa long-excurrent; Alabama and Florida.   Philonotis sphaerocarpa
+ Prorulae neither conspicuous nor numerous, sometimes obscure and few; margins revolute, not scabrous, marginal teeth more or less blunt; costa variable.   (10)
10 (9) Leaf margins singly serrulate; costa long-excurrent; Pacific coast, northern Rocky Mountains.   Philonotis capillaris
+ Leaf margins doubly serrulate; costa percurrent to excurrent; southeastern United States.   Philonotis uncinata

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