Cryphaea tenella, photographed by imbala.

Belongs within: Hypnales.

The Cryphaeaceae are a family of mosses found worldwide, primarily in tropical and subtropical regions, distinguished by the combination of a corticolous habitat, a generally dull-coloured appearance, creeping primary stems with firm spreading-erect branches, immersed capsules, and a pale peristome (Reese 2002). Many species within the family are vegetatively very similar to each other; genera are distinguished by reproductive structures. Dendrocryphaea and Cyptodon are found associated with aquatic habitats, while Cryphaea and Schoenobryum are generally terrestrial and epiphytic (J. Enroth, 2012, Australian Mosses Online). Species of Cryphaea have lateral perichaetia and usually a double peristome whereas Schoenobryum concavifolium has terminal perichaetia and a single peristome.

Characters (from Reese 2002, Bryophyte Flora of North America): Plants small to medium in size, mostly dull, with creeping primary stems bearing spreading to pendent branches, mostly brownish-green. Stems irregularly branched; paraphyllia lacking; pseudoparaphyllia lacking; two to four axillary hairs per axil, composed of 1-2 short proximal cells with brownish walls and 1-3 elongate distal cells. Branches short to elongate, simple to much-branched, terete. Leaves spirally inserted, imbricate, rapidly spreading when moistened, mostly ovate-acuminate, margins entire, or serrate distally, apex mostly acute; costa single; medial cells rhomboidal to fusiform, smooth to prorulose; alar cells rounded to quadrate. Sexual condition autoicous. Perigonia gemmiform, small, axillary. Perichaetia gemmiform, axillary or terminal on branches. Seta single, very short. Capsule immersed, erect, symmetric, stomates scanty, proximal; annulus usually revoluble; operculum conic-rostrate; peristome mostly double, pale; exostome of 16 teeth; endostome of 16 small linear segments or lacking, cilia lacking. Calyptra mitrate or subcucullate, smooth to papillose. Spores spherical, mostly granular to papillose, sometimes smooth.

    |--Scopelophila N02
    |--Dendropogon Schimp. 1843 SK02
    |--Schoenobryum Dozy & Molk. 1848 SK02
    |    `--S. concavifolium (Griff.) Gangulee 1976 SK02
    |--Dendrocryphaea Paris & Schimp. ex Broth. 1905 SK02
    |    |--D. gorveana D03
    |    `--D. tasmanica (Mitt.) Broth. 1905 [=Cryphaea tasmanica Mitt. 1859; incl. C. novae-zelandiae] SK02
    |--Cyptodon (Broth.) Paris & Schimp. 1894 SK02
    |    |--C. dilatatus (Hooker & Wilson) Paris & Schimp. 1914 [=Cryphaea dilatata; incl. Cr. confusa] SK02
    |    `--C. muelleri (Hampe) Fleischer 1914 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    `--Cryphaea Mohr & Weber 1814 SK02
         |--C. acuminata SK02
         |--C. ovalifolia (Müll.Hal.) Jaeger 1876 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--C. parvula Mitt. 1867 SK02
         |--C. reticulata J87
         `--C. tenella (Schwägr.) Hornsch. ex Müll.Hal. 1845 SK02 (see below for synonymy)

Nomina nuda: Cryphaea cochlearifolia Hooker & Wilson ex Hampe 1880 SK02
             Cryphaea flexinervis Broth. ex Bailey 1891 SK02
             Cryphaea mollis Dusén 1903 D03

Cryphaea ovalifolia (Müll.Hal.) Jaeger 1876 [=Pilotrichum ovalifolium, Cryphidium ovalifolium, Cyptodon ovalifolius (Müll.Hal.) Fleischer 1914, Philodora ovalifolia; incl. Cryphaea crenulata, Cryphidium crenulatum, Cyptodon crenulatus, Dendropogon crenulatus, Cryphaea squarrulosa, Cryphidium squarrulosum, Cyptodon squarrosulus, Dendropogon squarrulosus, D. squarrosulus (l. c.)] SK02

Cryphaea tenella (Schwägr.) Hornsch. ex Müll.Hal. 1845 SK02 [=Neckera complanata var. tenella D24, SK02, Pilotrichum tenellum SK02; incl. Cryphaea brevidens SK02, C. consimilis SK02, C. exannulata Dixon & Sainsbury 1945 SK02, C. pusilla SK02]

Cyptodon muelleri (Hampe) Fleischer 1914 [=Dendropogon muelleri, Cryphaea muelleri, Cryphidium muelleri, Pilotrichum muelleri; incl. Cryphaea viridissima Müll.Hal. ex Paris 1894 (n. n.), Dendropogon viridissimus Müll.Hal. 1914] SK02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[D24] Dixon, H. N. 1924. The Student's Handbook of British Mosses 3rd ed. V. V. Sumfield: Eastbourne.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. Patagonian and Fuegian mosses. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896–1899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 63–126. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[N02] Negi, H. R. 2002. Abundance and diversity of moss communities of Chopta-Tunganath in the Garhwal Himalaya. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 (3): 418–433.

[SK02] Streimann, H., & N. Klazenga. 2002. Catalogue of Australian Mosses. Flora of Australia Supplementary Series 17. Australian Biological Resources Study: Canberra.

Last updated: 7 January 2018.

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