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BFNA | Family List | BFNA Vol. 1 | Pottiaceae

Pterygoneurum Juratzka, Laubm. Oest. Ungarn. 95. 1882.
[conserved name and orthography]

Greek pterux, -ugos, wing + o + Latin neuron, nerve; referring to the ridge-like lamellae of the adaxial surface of the costa

Richard H. Zander

Plants bulbiform, gregarious or forming a thin turf, green above, light brown below. Stems buried, usually short, 0.5--5 mm; hyalodermis absent, sclerodermis absent, central strand present, distinct; axillary hairs ca. 7 cells in length, all hyaline or proximal 1--2 cells brown. Cauline leaves appressed when dry, weakly spreading when moist; ovate to ligulate, adaxial surface broadly concave, 2--3.5 mm (inclusive of the 1.5--2.0 mm awn); base not differentiated in shape; distal margins weakly to broadly incurved to near apex, plane below, entire or denticulate above; apex obtuse to rounded, often weakly cucullate; costa long-excurrent as a smooth or denticulate, hyaline awn, occasionally absent in some leaves, adaxial outgrowths of (0--)3--4 lamellae longitudinally inserted on adaxial surface of costa, ca. 12 cells in height, occasionally lobed or branching, smooth or hollow-papillose, adaxial cells (differentiated as lamellae) in 4--6 rows; transverse section circular, adaxial epidermis apparently absent, adaxial stereid band absent, guide cells 2 in 1 layer, hydroid strand present, usually large, abaxial stereid band present, often weak and round to elliptic in section, abaxial epidermis present; proximal cells differentiated across leaf base, occasionally higher medially, rectangular, little wider than the distal cells or somewhat inflated, ca. 2--5:1, walls of basal cells thin; distal medial cells quadrate to shortly rectangular, often transversely elongated, 10--13(--20) µm wide, (2--)1:1(--2), 1-stratose; papillae absent or small, simple, solid or hollow and present abaxially and medially, 2--3 per lumen, cell walls thin to weakly thickened and weakly trigonous, flat or somewhat bulging on both sides or just abaxially. Specialized asexual reproduction absent. Sexual condition autoicous or paroicous. Perichaetia terminal, interior leaves not sheathing, elliptic, little differentiated, to 1.5 mm. Seta 0.4-3.5 mm. Capsule stegocarpous or rarely cleistocarpous, theca short-cylindric, often macrostomous, variously smooth, sulcate or ridged, 0.5--1.5 mm, annulus when present of ca. 3 rows somewhat vesiculose cells; operculum rostrate to conic-rostrate; peristome teeth absent or when present rudimentary, in a latticework borne on a membrane, weakly twisted, teeth to 300 µm. Calyptra cucullate or mitrate with 3--4 large lobes. Spores 25-38 µm. KOH distal laminal color reaction yellow, occasionally red or orange in spots medially near apex or at leaf base.

Species 12 (4 in the flora): most continents, dry climate, soil or occasionally rock.

Pterygoneurum is apparently most closely related to Crossidium , and, like that genus, has chlorophyllose filaments (occasionally) in addition to the adaxial costal lamellae, and the stem is densely clothed with pale, brown rhizoids. Pterygoneurum is common in arid regions of the West, forming a dense, low turf in exposed soil. The hyaline awns and short setae are distinctive in the field.


Wareham, R. T. 1939. Pterigoneurum [sic]. In: A. J. Grout, Moss Flora of North America North of Mexico. 1(4): 208--211. Zander, R. H. 1993. Genera of the Pottiaceae: Mosses of Harsh Environments. Bull. Buffalo Soc. Nat. Sci.32.


Crum, H. A. 1967b. A new species of Pterigoneurum [sic] from California. Madroño 19: 92--94.
Flowers, S. 1973. Mosses: Utah & the West. Brigham Young Univ. Press, Provo, Utah.
McIntosh, T. T. 1986. The Bryophytes of the Semi-Arid Steppe of South-Central British Columbia. Dissert., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. 345 pp.
McIntosh, T. T. 1989. Bryophyte records from the semiarid steppe of northwestern North America, including four species new to North America. Bryologist 92: 356--362.
Wareham, R. T. 1939. Pterigoneurum [sic]. In: A. J. Grout, Moss Flora of North America North of Mexico. 1(4): 208--211.

1 Capsules immersed or partly exerted, calyptra mitrate.   (2)
+ Capsules exerted on an elongate seta, calyptra cucullate or rarely mitrate.   (3)
2 (1) Lamellae ca. 4--12 cells high; capsules immersed to somewhat exerted, stegocarpous (var. kieneri has an annulus but bursts irregularly).   Pterygoneurum subsessile
+ Lamellae low, 2(--8) cells high; capsules immersed, cleistocarpous.   Pterygoneurum kozlovii
3 (1) Distal lamina smooth; lamellae even in shape and size; capsules shortly exerted, ovoid; peristome lacking; cells of operculum in straight rows.   Pterygoneurum ovatum
+ Distal lamina sometimes abaxially weakly papillose; lamellae irregular in shape and size; capsules cylindric, long exerted; peristome occasionally present, fragile; cells of operculum slightly twisted.   Pterygoneurum lamellatum

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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