Cat-tail Moss

Cat-tail Moss - Hookerales Lembophyllaceae Isothecium myosuroides


Identification & Description:
Cat-tail Moss or reed mace, any plant of the genus Typha, perennial herbs found in almost all open marshes. The cattail (also called club rush) has long narrow leaves, sometimes used for weaving chair seats, and a single tall stem bearing two sets of tiny flowers, the male flowers above the female. The pollinated female flowers form the familiar cylindrical spike of fuzzy brown fruits; the male flowers drop off and leave a naked stalk tip. The starchy rootstock can be used for food. Cattails are classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Liliopsida, order Typhales, family Typhaceae.

This species is one of the most common along the coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest. When hanging from a tree branch, this moss looks like delicate green hair. The color is white-green and its leaves are thin and pointy, with a small mid-rib. Most of the mosses that have a similar, white-green hair-like appearance are in the Isothecium Genus.

Glossy or dingy green plants; stems form long, narrowly tapered strands hanging from branches or forming creeping mats. Leaves are up to 2mm long, upright, elliptic and sharp pointed, edges sharply toothed. Sporophytes are common, with brownish stalks, capsules short-cylindrical, peristome well developed, double.

Very common from sea level to middle elevations in coastal BC, often forms a continuous cover on trees in some of our coastal rainforests, as shown above.

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