Friday, November 17, 2017

Mosses of Central Florida 39. Barbula indica

A dried specimen of Barbula indica,
showing the leaves twisted around the
stems. (from  Merner s.n. 20 Sep 1970,
USF)
Barbula indica (Hooker) Sprengel (Pottiaceae) forms cushions of upright stems as high as 1.2 cm, mostly on limestone rocks. The leaves are narrow-ovate in shape and clearly grooved on the upper surface along the strong midrib, spreading when wet but rolled together and twisted when dry.  Leaf cells are roundish and papillose, with larger clear cells at the base.  Spore capsules are rarely seen in Florida, but when present are upright, more or less symmetrical, and have  long, twisted teeth around the opening.

A piece of limestone with Barbula indica and Hyophiladelphus agraria (with orange capsule stalks near the top) From Newberry s.n. 25 Feb 1971, USF.
This species, usually differentiated as Barbula indica variety indica, is found throughout the world, including much of eastern North America, Alaska and the Canadian Northwest Territories.  In Florida, it has been collected spottily throughout the state.  Another variety,  B. indica var gregaria is found widely in tropical America, but oddly only in Alberta, Canada in North America.

The family Pottiaceae, at least in central Florida, can be recognized by its upright, radially symmetrical shoots, with papillose leaves, and most often occurring on limestone.  Other central Florida genera in the Pottiaceae include Weissia, which has short, rosette-like leafy shoots with narrow, sword-shaped leaves that are strongly inrolled at the edges, and capsule teeth that are short and straight. It is also more likely found on soil.  Hyophiladelphus occurs also on limestone rocks, sometimes mixed with Barbula, and also has long twisted teeth around the opening of the capsule, but has short, rosette-like shoots, and leaves that are only rarely papillose. Tortella  is also similar but the leaves have a very distinctive V-shaped pattern of clear basal cells.

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