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California Moss eFlora
|Jan 1 2013 ·|
Ulota is restricted in California to the humid forests and coastline in extreme northwestern portions of the state. Our species are strongly crispate plants which share with Orthotrichum a ecthydric life strategy: they very rapidly take in water that falls on any portion of their plant, and they lose water to evaporation at similar rates. A droplet of water placed on a dry plant of either genus causes immediate squirming of that plant as the leaves absorb the water. As a member of the Orthotrichaceae, Ulota has hairy calyptrae and somewhat sulcate capsules. The plants in this genus differ from Orthotrichum in having leaves with one or several rows of isodiametric marginal cells in the alar regions.
see key to Orthotrichum Etc.
Ulota is primarily a plant of more humid climates than those of Orthotrichum. Like those Orthotrichum that occupy more humid habitats (O. pulchellum and O. consimile), Ulota is generally quite crispate, and has superficial stomates.
Species included in this key are all in Orthotrichaceae:
Ulota megalospora Venturi in Röll
Ulota obtusiuscula C. Müller Hal. & Kindberg in Macoun
Ulota phyllantha Bridel
Zygodon rupestris W. P. Schimper ex Lorentz
Our three species of Ulota differ radically in habitats. Ulota phyllantha is a plant of twigs and rocks within a few miles of the ocean shore in northwestern California. Ulota obtusiuscula is a plant of twigs and trunks in northwestern California, always in perpetually humid regions. Ulota megalospora is a plant of tree canopies, especially conifers. It can be predicted when one encounters a ridge-top Pseudotsuga with a large horizontally-oriented branch and, in such sites, it will be on the underside of the branch.
A. Apex of upper leaves with a reddish-brown cluster of septate gemmae; plant found only within a mile or so of the ocean .....Ulota phyllantha
A. Apex of leaves not gemmiparous; plant more widely distributed .....B
B. Apex of leaf not uniseriate; plant forming tight cushions of strongly crispate leaves .....Ulota obtusiuscula
B. Apex of leaf filiform with about 2-5 isodiametric to short-rectangular cells in a uniseriate apex .....C
C. Plant tufted with rhizoids axillary and bearing abundant multicellular elliptical gemmae .....Zygodon: Z. rupestris
C. Plant stoloniferous with prostrate axes possessing abundant red-brown rhizoids, gemmae absent .....Ulota megalospora
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