Hedwigia Moss Description
Hedwigia moss is an evergreen moss that grows up to 1" (2.5 cm) tall and 1' (30 cm) wide. Its stems range in color from red to brown and are terete and black hair-like rhizoids; they're widely scattered, ascending, or upright. Stem dichotomy commonly develops following the formation of reproductive organs.
Leaves are evenly distributed throughout the stems.
Individual leaves are 1.5–2 mm long, lanceolate-ovate, and toothless along the margins; their bases are securely clamped to the stems, and their points are narrowly sharp, sometimes extending into awn-like spikes. They're also concave-convex, recurved, and sometimes incurved.
Lower leaf margins are considerably revolved (rolled downward), while the edges of the middle to upper leaves are mildly revolved to flat.
Moist leaves extend 45°–75° away from the stems, whereas dry leaves are straight or appressed. Also, moist leaves are green or yellow-green when damp, becoming grayish-green and pallid when dry.
The tips of the leaves are translucent-white due to the absence of chlorophyll. Nonetheless, the whole leaves turn translucent-white as they age and wither before falling off the stems.
The preferred conditions include sun to moderate shade, dry to moist conditions, and rocky material or acidic rock substrates. Still, the moss may withstand limestone or dolomite with a higher pH. It may also adapt to various surfaces, including roofing materials, logs, and barren soil.
This moss is more sun and drought-tolerant than most moss species, making it an excellent choice for green rooftops and rock gardens.
Range and habitat
The native, White-tipped Moss (Hedwigia Ciliata) is found in the northeast, east-central, and southern parts of Illinois but is scarce or nonexistent elsewhere in Illinois. This moss is found worldwide, including in Africa, North America, Australia, South America, and Eurasia.
Habitats in Illinois include sandstone bluffs and canyon walls, rocky ridges, limestone rocks' faces, woodland ravine's steep slopes, woodland trails' rocks and boulders, creeks' steep banks, pond rocks, sandstone glades, bare rocky hills, and churches or other properties' old stone walls.
This moss loves acidic rocks in upland open forests or inside gorges, but it also thrives on hard, gritty surfaces in cities and surrounding environments.
The appearance of this moss varies according to the degree of translucent whiteness towards the tips of its leaves and the presence or absence of noticeable white bristles at the tips of its leaves. In eastern North America, this moss has leaves with a little translucent white area near the leaf tip and few or no bristles. However, as the leaves wilt, they grow more white-translucent.
The hedwigia moss can be differentiated from other similar mosses by their white-tipped and occasionally bristly leaves, lack of midribs, revolute margins, minute bumpiness of their leaf cells, and sessile or almost sessile globoid spore capsules. In addition, unlike many other mosses, they like to grow on relatively dry and open rocks, including rooftops.