Plants in hoary, yellow green to green cushions or turfs, to 5 cm high. Leaves erect to erect spreading when moist, appressed with reflexed awns when dry, to 5 mm long, 5–8: 1, neither plicate nor fragile, narrowly lanceolate. Laminal cells in up to 10 rows on each side of the costa at midleaf, smooth, to 12 µm wide, 1–3: 1, not in regular rows, elliptic, strongly pitted. Marginal cells markedly longer and more narrow in a somewhat defined limbidium. Alar cells present or absent, when present quadrate and strongly inflated in a reddish auricle. Basal cells filling leaf between costa and margin rectangular and thin walled, to 20 µm wide. Costa filling 1/3–3/4 of leaf base, tapering and excurrent in a a hyaline awn which comprises up to 1/3 of total leaf length. Abaxial surface of costa in distal 1/2 to 2/3 with numerous parallel, one-cell-high ridges. Costa cross-section with a single abaxial stereid band up to 4 cells thick, with a single layer of guide cells on the adaxial surface and with the abaxial epidermis poorly to well differentiated. Margin plane, entire or with a few small serrulations on awn. Rhizoids red brown, to 15 µm wide at base, smooth, mostly dichotomously branched with the ultimate branches strongly curled, arising on stem from immediately below leaf insertion. Stem cross-section with a well-defined central strand, a leptodermous area of large and hyaline inner cortical cells and with a well-demarcated stereome of small and pigmented outer cortical cells.
Dioicous with the male plants somewhat smaller than the female. Perichaetial leaves erect and partially sheathing immediate base of seta, abruptly contracted at about mid leaf into a well-defined acumen. Mostly monosetous with the seta smooth, to 10 mm, yellow to light brown, very strongly arcuate, sometimes even bent in the middle with the distal 1/2 directed straight downwards. Urn asymmetric and inclined, strongly sulcate, to 2 mm long, about 3: 1, not strumose. Operculum rostrate, about 1/2 as long as the urn. Calyptra cucullate, strongly fringed at the base. Annulus somewhat differentiated, not revoluble. Peristome brown below but pale above, inserted near capsule mouth, to 400 µm long, bifid to about their middle, vertically striate proximally but at least somewhat papillose distally. Exothecial cells to 25 µm wide, not in regular vertical rows, quite irregular in size and shape, rectangular 2–4: 1, very thin walled. Spores minutely papillose, to 15 µm.
This plant is abundant on clayey soil banks, logs and even rooftops on the north coast of California from about Fort Bragg to near the Oregon border. It is native to many parts of the Southern Hemisphere, especially Australia, and was probably introduced into Europe over a century ago. It appears to be a much more recent introduction into California where I first collected it in 1975. This very broad costa-ed plant is automatically recognizable because of its hyaline awn which reflexes upon drying.
|Literature||Frahm 1980; O'Brien 1999; Shevock and Toren 2001; Showers 1982.|
|Illustrations||Malcolm et al. 2009 p. 112; Frahm 1985; Smith 1978.|
|Bioregions||CaR, CW, NW, SW.|
|Vouchers||Humboldt Co.: three miles north of Manila on stabilized dunes, Montalvo s.n. (UC); Golf Course Road about 0.25 mile west of Club House, Bayside Golf Course, Norris 53102; Lake Co.: south shore Clear Lake at Sulfur Bank Mine, Toren 8027 (CAS); Marin Co.: Limantour Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, O'Brien 3353 (UC); Mendocino Co.: end of Simpson Land, Pygmy Cypress Forest, Showers & Toren 3258 (UC) [determined by Frahm] and Little River, Fern Canyon, He 40001 (MO); Monterey Co.: Cortez Road near Viscaino Road near Pebble Beach, Yadon s.n. (UC); San Francisco Co.: Mt. Davidson, Toren 7760 (CAS) [determined by Frahm]; San Mateo Co.: Pacifica, San Pedro County Park, Bourell 7000 (CAS); Santa Barbara Co.: Los Sauces Trail, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park, Robertson 2154 (CAS); Shasta Co.: Boiling Springs Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Showers 1909 (UC) [determined by Frahm].|