Polytrichum commune, photographed by James K. Lindsey.

Belongs within: Musci.

The Polytrichaceae are a family of mostly relatively large mosses found worldwide. They are distinguished by the presence of a nematodontous peristome around the mouth of the spore capsule: i.e. the opening has a surrounding ring of teeth, but rather than being constructed of reduced cell wall remnants as in the Polytrichaceae's sister group (the Bryopsida), the teeth are composed of entire cells. Species of this family are commonly referred to as 'hair-cap mosses' due to the presence of hair on the calyptrae of many species. The genus Dawsonia includes the world's tallest moss species, D. superba, reaching 50 cm in height.

Characters (from Smith & Smith 2004): Plants large, usually rhizomatous. Stems with central strand with differentiated conductive tissue. Leaves usually differentiated into sheathing base with narrow costa, and blade composed largely of expanded costa bearing longitudinal lamellae on adaxial side, lamina usually narrow, 1-2-stratose; margins toothed or entire, sometimes bordered. Capsules erect to horizontal, spherical to cylindrical, terete or 2-6-angled, hypophysis present or absent; annulus absent; peristome nematodontous with 32-64 teeth; columella expanded at top to membranous epiphragm joined to tips of peristome teeth; calyptrae cucullate, glabrous or hairy.

<==Polytrichaceae [Polytrichales, Polytrichidae]
    |--Oligotrichum FHH01
    |    |--O. hercynicum FHH01
    |    `--O. tenuirostre A49
    |--Dendroligotrichum dendroides FHH01 [=Polytrichum dendroides SK02]
    |--Psilopilum Brid. 1827 SK02
    |    |--P. bellii M49
    |    |--P. compressum D03b
    |    `--P. pyriforme (Hampe) Jaeger 1879 [=Catharinea pyriformis, Atrichum pyriforme, Oligotrichum pyriforme] SK02
    |--Notoligotrichum Smith 1971 SK02
    |    |--N. australe (Hooker & Wilson) Smith 1971 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |    `--N. crispulum (Hooker & Wilson) Smith 1971 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |--Polytrichastrum Smith 1971 SK02
    |    |--P. alpinum (Hedw.) Smith 1971 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |    `--P. formosum (Hedw.) Smith 1971 [=Polytrichum formosum Hedw. 1801] SK02
    |--Polytrichadelphus (Müll.Hal.) Mitt. 1859 SK02
    |    |--P. dendroides D03b
    |    |--P. magellanicus (Hedw.) Mitt. 1859 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |    `--P. squamosa D03b
    |--Atrichum Palisot de Beauvois 1804 SK02
    |    |--A. androgynum (Müll.Hal.) Jaeger 1875 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |    |--A. angustatum [=Catharinea angustata, Polytrichum angustatum] SK02
    |    |--A. flavisetum N02
    |    `--A. undulatum FHH01
    |--Dawsonia Brown 1811 [Dawsoniaceae, Dawsoniales] SK02
    |    |--D. longiseta Hampe 1860 [=D. longisetacea (l. c.); incl. D. appressa, D. victoriae] SK02
    |    |--D. polytrichoides Brown 1811 [=Triplocoma polytrichoides; incl. D. polytrichoides var. minor (n. n.)] SK02
    |    `--D. superba Greville 1847 SK02
    |         |--D. s. var. superba SK02
    |         `--D. s. var. pulchra Zanten 1972 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |--Pogonatum Palisot de Beauvois 1804 SK02
    |    |--P. aloides FHH01
    |    |--P. dendroides D03a
    |    |--P. microstomum N02
    |    |--P. neesii (Müll.Hal.) Dozy 1856 (see below for synonymy) SK02
    |    |--P. robustum [incl. P. ekmanii Thériot 1944] J87
    |    |--P. subtortile [incl. P. subtortile var. teysmannianum] SK02
    |    |--P. subulatum (Brid.) Brid. 1827 [incl. Polytrichum nanournigerum, Pog. nanournigerum] SK02
    |    |--P. tortile [=Polytrichum tortile] SK02
    |    `--P. tubulosum Dixon 1941 SK02
    `--Polytrichum Hedw. 1801 SK02
         |--P. brachypelma Müll.Hal. 1897 SK02
         |--P. cataractarum Müll.Hal. 1897 SK02
         |--P. commune Hedw. 1801 CD07
         |    |--P. c. var. commune SK02
         |    |--P. c. var. perigoniale (Michx.) Hampe 1839 Sk02
         |    `--P. c. var. trichodes SK02
         |--P. croceum Hampe 1853 SK02
         |--P. elongatum D03b
         |--P. juniperinum Hedw. 1801 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--P. lycopodioides Müll.Hal. 1897 SK02
         |--P. norvegicum SK02
         |--P. novae-hollandiae Jaeger 1875 [incl. P. densifolium (preoc.)] SK02
         |--P. obliquirostre Müll.Hal. 1897 SK02
         |--P. patagonicum D03b
         |--P. piliferum Hedw. 1801 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--P. recurvipilum Müll.Hal. 1897 SK02
         |--P. spegazzinii D03b
         |--P. strictum SK02
         |--P. trachynotum D03b
         `--P. uliginosum VHJ03

Nomina nuda: Pogonatum australasicum f. minor Hampe & Geh. 1881 SK02
             Polytrichadelphus stricticaulis Dusén 1903 D03b

Atrichum androgynum (Müll.Hal.) Jaeger 1875 [incl. Catharinea leptocylindrica, A. leptocylindricum, Polytrichum ligulatum, A. ligulatum, Catharinea ligulata, C. minuta, Atrichum minutum, Oligotrichum minutum, Catharinea muelleri, Atrichum muelleri (preoc.), Polytrichum angustatum var. polysetum, A. angustatum var. polysetum (nom. inv.), Catharinea pusilla, A. pusillum, C. semilamellosa, A. semilamellosum, C. sideroloma, A. sideroloma] SK02

Dawsonia superba var. pulchra Zanten 1972 [incl. D. intermedia, Polytrichum longifolium (nom. rej.), D. longifolia (Bruch & Schimp.) Zanten 1977 (nom. rej.)] SK02

Notoligotrichum australe (Hooker & Wilson) Smith 1971 [=Polytrichum australe non P. juniperinum var. australe Müll.Hal. 1868, Psilopilum australe (Hooker & Wilson) Mitt. 1860] SK02

Notoligotrichum crispulum (Hooker & Wilson) Smith 1971 [=Polytrichum crispulum, Catharinea crispula, Psilopilum crispulum (Hooker & Wilson) Mitt. 1860] SK02

Pogonatum neesii (Müll.Hal.) Dozy 1856 [incl. Polytrichum australasicum, Pog. australasicum, Pog. baileyi (nom. inv.), Polytrichum brachypodium, Pog. brachypodium (Müll.Hal.) Watts & Whitel. 1902, Pol. camarae, Pog. camarae (Müll.Hal.) Paris 1897, Pol. gippslandiae, Pog. gippslandiae (Müll.Hal.) Paris 1900, Pol. nanocarpum, Pog. nanocarpum (Müll.Hal.) Paris 1900] SK02

Polytrichadelphus magellanicus (Hedw.) Mitt. 1859 [=Polytrichum magellanicum; incl. Catharinea arnoldii, Oligotrichum arnoldii, Polytrichadelphus arnoldii, Catharinea australasica, Oligotrichum australasicum, Polytrichadelphus australasicus, Polytrichum innovans (nom. inv.), Catharinea innovans, Oligotrichum innovans, Polytrichadelphus innovans, Catharinea lagenacea, Polytrichadelphus lagenaceus, C. prolificans, Polytrichadelphus prolificans] SK02

Polytrichastrum alpinum (Hedw.) Smith 1971 [=Polytrichum alpinum, Pogonatum alpinum, Pog. austroalpinum, Polytrichum austroalpinum (nom. inv.), Polytrichum pseudoalpinum, Pogonatum pseudoalpinum] SK02

Polytrichum juniperinum Hedw. 1801 [incl. P. juniperinum var. australe Müll.Hal. 1868, P. beccarii, P. cypellomitrium, P. juniperifolium, P. longipilum, P. maoriae, P. nodicoma, P. ryparomitrium, P. tasmaniae, P. tasmanicum (l. c.), P. tysdalei, P. tisdallii (l. c.)] SK02

Polytrichum piliferum Hedw. 1801 [incl. P. pilosum (nom. illeg.), P. sullivanii, Eupolytrichum sullivanii (nom. inv.)] SK02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A49] Allison, K. W. 1949. Description of a new species with notes and localities for some Otago and Southland mosses. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77 (2): 278-283.

[CD07] Cantino, P. D., J. A. Doyle, S. W. Graham, W. S. Judd, R. G. Olmstead, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta. Taxon 56 (3): E1-E44.

[D03a] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 1-34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[D03b] Dusén, P. 1903b. Patagonian and Fuegian mosses. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 63-126. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[FHH01] Frey, W., M. Hofmann & H. H. Hilger. 2001. The gametophyte-sporophyte junction: Unequivocal hints for two evolutionary lines of archegoniate land plants. Flora 196: 431-445.

[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.

[M49] Martin, W. 1949. Distribution of the mosses indigenous to New Zealand (supp. no. 1). Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77 (3): 355-360.

[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.

Smith, A. J. E., & R. Smith. 2004. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press.

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

[VHJ03] Vanderpoorten, A., L. Hedenäs & A.-L. Jacquemart. 2003. Differentiation in DNA fingerprinting and morphology among species of the pleurocarpous moss genus, Rhytidiadelphus (Hylocomiaceae). Taxon 52: 229-236.

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