Haircap Moss - Polytrichales Polytrichaceae Polytrichum commune
Identification & Description:
The Hair Cap Mosses, called Bird Wheat or Pigeon Wheat in many localities, are the largest and in some respects most highly developed of all our mosses, and by reason of their size and common occurrence are familiar object to nearly everyone. Many an old field and meadow is carpeted with the dark rich green of the common Hair Cap. The farmer, however, votes it a pest, as it often entirely supplants the grass over large areas of meadow. The hairy cap that gives this genus of mosses its name is composed of long hairs growing from a little scale-like body, the calyptra proper, at the top of the capsule. The Hair Caps, in common with most other mosses, are subject to great extremes of moisture and dryness, and their appearance when dry is very different firm what it is when moist, as the leaves of the rosette are numerous antheridia. The male plants of many other dioicous mosses end in a similar rosette. The leaves are large, not bordered, with a sheathing membranous base and very numerous lamellae occupying the greater part of the width of the leaf above the base, making the central portion of the leaf very dark and dense
Hair cap moss has soil anchoring structures that closely resemble and function like roots. For this reason, we ship this species in clumps with soil still attached. Haircap moss prefers medium shade to partial sun, and likes sandy soil.
The complete taxonomic listing for the Haircap Mosses is:
Phylum- Bryophyta (Mosses)
Class- Bryopsida = Musci (True Mosses)
Genus- Polytrichum (Haircap Mosses)