Tayloria W. J. Hooker, 1816.

The leaves of western North American species of Tayloria are ligulate or spatulate, the rhizoids are smooth, and the axillary hairs have a somewhat clavate appearance due to the enlarged distal cell. The family Splachnaceae is uniquely adapted to growing on high nitrogen substrates such as dung and long decayed carcasses. Such habitats should be viewed as highly discontinuous in time and space. In the far north, such habitats are somewhat less discontinuous in time because of slower rates of decay. However, at the latitude of California, dung and carcasses disappear too rapidly to support Splachnaceae except at very high elevations, and even high elevation sites only rarely will support members of the family. Members of the family Splachnaceae typically have spores distributed from source to appropriate target substrates by means of flies, and they have evolved toward sticky spores as an adaptation to such dispersal. Fly dispersal is effected because the chemicals contributed by decomposition become concentrated in the Splachnaceae sporophyte.

Key to Tayloria Etc.

Mosses included in this section have large median laminal cells with thin walls. The leaves usually are somewhat broadened above the middle, and most have serrate to dentate margins. The plants included here include all the members of the Splachnaceae, a family characterized by unusual modification of the neck of the capsule. Some Splachnaceae have that neck broadened into a parapet below the urn; others have the neck greatly elongated in a manner parallelled only in Trematodon in the distantly related family Bruchiaceae.

Species included in this key are in Splachnaceae, except Oedipodium (Oedipodiaceae):
Oedipodium griffithianum (Dickson) Schwägrichen, not known from CA
Splachnum ampullaceum Hedwig, not known from CA
Splachnum sphaericum Hedwig, not known from CA
Splachnum vasculosum Hedwig, not known from CA
Tayloria hornschuchii (Greville & Arnott) Brotherus, not known from CA
Tayloria lingulata (Dickson) Lindberg, not known from CA
Tayloria serrata (Hedwig) Bruch & W. P. Schimper, not known from CA
Tetraplodon mnioides (Hedwig) Bruch & W. P. Schimper, not known from CA

Sporophytes in the Splachnaceae are on erect setae often so close together as to allow flys to walk from one sporophyte to another. Most, and perhaps all, Splachnaceae are autoicous, and sporophytes are regularly to be expected. Identification of plants with sporophytes is easy based upon the greatly elongate or parapet-like hypophysis. When sterile, one looks for a Bryum-like plant (large thin-walled leaf cells on an acrocarpous plant). Although the Splachnaceae are not yet known for California we expect that at least one species (Splachnum, Tayloria or Tetraplodon) will be found.

A. Leaves very broadly spatulate with the broadened and rounded apex about 4 times as broad as the leaf base; margin of leaf base with long cilia .....Oedipodium: O. griffithianum not known from CA
A. Leaf apex not so much broader than the base; leaf margin not at all ciliate .....B

B. Leaf margins toothed to below the middle with at least some of the teeth multicellular .....Splachnum: S. ampullaceum not known from CA
B. Leaf margins entire to dentate but with those teeth not multicellular .....C

C. Leaves with apex rounded to obtuse at apex with costa ending before that apex; capsule erect with hypophysis more narrow than urn but as long or longer; calyptra fringed below with the individual lobes inwardly directed .....D
C. Leaves with apex acuminate to mucronate with costa length various; capsule various; base of calyptra not inwardly directed .....F

D. Leaves broadest near the middle, completely entire; columella exserted from mouth of urn .....Tayloria hornschuchii not known from CA
D. Leaves broadest above the middle, entire to bluntly serrate .....E

E. Leaves with entire or nearly entire margins; urn above the apophysis not much longer than broad .....Tayloria lingulata not known from CA
E. Leaves spatulate with bluntly serrate margins near the apices; urn above the apophysis about 1.5:1 .....Tayloria serrata not known from CA

F. Leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate abruptly contracted into a very narrow acumen; costa extending at least into the base of the acumen; hypophysis not broader than urn .....Tetraplodon: T. mnioides not known from CA
F. Leaves ovate to almost orbicular with apex mucronate to short acuminate; costa ending below the base of the mucro; hypophysis usually broadened relative to urn .....G

G. Leaf apex bluntly rounded or with a very short apiculus; margin mostly entire; hypophysis about twice as wide as urn .....Splachnum: S. vasculosum not known from CA
G. Leaf apex with a short or rather long acumen; margin mostly toothed with blunt teeth; hypophysis as wide as urn .....Splachnum: S. sphaericum not known from CA