Funaria Hedwig, 1801

Funaria hygrometrica, photo by Wilson

Members of the Funariaceae grow primarily in open soil of disturbed and desert areas. Funariaceae is contrasted with Bryaceae under the genus Entosthodon. The genus Funaria has asymmetric capsules with oblique mouths. The family includes many ephemeral plants generally thought to be annuals overwintering by spores. Some of these ephemeral Funariaceae have essentially no seta, and so the capsule is immersed. Such plants are distinguished in the Key to Acaulon Etc.

Key to Funaria

Species included are all in Funariaceae:
Funaria calvescens Schwägrichen
Funaria convexa Spruce, recognized from CA since 2004
Funaria hygrometrica Hedwig
Funaria microstoma Bruch ex W. P. Schimper
Funaria muhlenbergii Turner

The Funariaceae have gametophytes that are strongly reminiscent of the genus Bryum but the peristome is highly diagnostic. Funaria, as a member of the Funariales, has the endostome segments arranged opposite the exostome teeth. A side view of such a capsule may have those exostome teeth so covering the endostome segments as to render the latter invisible. In contrast, most mosses with a double peristome have the exostome alternating in placement with the more interior endostome segments. Such an arrangement means that the endostome segments are seen between the exostome teeth when seen in a side view of the capsule.

Additional characters allowing recognition of members of this family include the usually comose arrangement of the leaves; the dome-shaped (no apiculus) operculum; and the ring-like single cell that replaces the guard cells on the stomata of the exothecial wall. Because so many of our Funariaceae are presumably annual plants, the sporophyte is usually present at the time of collection. For this reason, most of the species and generic differentia are sporophytic. Funaria hygrometrica is among the most widespread mosses in California. It is common on a wide variety of sites and habitats, and especially abundant on recently burned landscapes and in anthropogenic gardens. The orange seta and mature capsules allow identification at a distance of many meters.

A. Upper exothecial cells elongate and so strongly thickened as to appear virtually without a lumen; annulus not well-defined; spores with high papillae ..... B
A. Upper exothecial cells irregularly isodiametric to irregularly oblong; annulus well-defined and revoluble; spores nearly smooth .....C

B. Tip of leaf obtuse to rounded; leaves abruptly narrowed to an apiculus; operculum plane or convex .....Funaria convexa
B. Tip of leaf acuminate; leaves attenuate; operculum conic .....Funaria muhlenbergii

C. Upper leaves rather abruptly acuminate; endostome segments less than 1/2 the length of the exostome; spores 23-30 µm .....Funaria microstoma
C. Upper leaves acute to short acuminate; endostome segments almost as long as the exostome; spores 12-15 µm .....D

D. Setae straight without a tendency for adjacent ones to twist and tangle with one another; proximal portion of stem almost denuded of leaves or with leaves inconspicuous scales; capsules only very lightly sulcate with the depth of the sulcae less than the width between sulcae .....Funaria calvescens
D. Setae twisted and tangled with adjacent setae; proximal portion of stem with leaves gradually enlarged from base to the somewhat defined apical coma; capsules more deeply sulcate .....Funaria hygrometrica