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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Banded Cord-moss in Canada

COSEWIC Status Report
on the
Banded Cord-moss
Entosthodon fascicularis
in Canada

Species Information

Name and Classification

Scientific name:

Entosthodon fascicularis (Hedw.) C. Müll.

Pertinent synonyms:

Funaria leibergii Britt., Funaria fascicularis (Hedw.) Lindb.

Common name:

Banded Cord-moss



Major plant group:

Mosses (Musci)

The Funariaceae is a large moss family characterized by species with a great degree of vegetative similarity, with most taxa having broad, light green leaves and large, pale leaf cells (Crum and Anderson 1980). Most species are considered to be short-lived, either annual or biennial (Grout 1935, Lawton 1971). Genera within the family are distinguished by differences in the sporophyte: by the shape, size, and straightness of the capsule, and by the presence, absence, or degree of development of the peristome, a fringe of tooth-like appendages surrounding the mouth of the capsule.

The genus Entosthodon consists of diminutive plants that have derived their name from the peristome which, when present, is inserted well inside the mouth of the capsule. Entosthodon has shortly exerted, erect, symmetrical, and operculate capsules with moderately large spores. Members of this genus tend to colonize ephemeral habitats that are repeatedly, but inconsistently, available in the same area, rather than depending on wind dispersal of spores to reach more widely distributed suitable areas.

There are twelve species of Entosthodon in North America, with only E. fascicularis and E. rubiginosus found in Canada, both restricted to British Columbia (Anderson et al. 1990; Ireland et al. 1987). Grout (1935) discussed E. fascicularis under E. leibergii.


The following description has been derived principally from Grout (1935), Lawton (1971), and Smith (1989), and from examination of specimens. Figure 1 illustrates many of the characters described here.

Entosthodon fascicularis is a small, 2-4(-7) mm tall, acrocarpous (producing female structures and sporophytes at the tips of the main stems) species that grows in small patches on seasonally wet soil. Mature plants are pale green to yellow-green. Mature leaves are crowded at the summit of the stem and range in length from 1.5-4(-5) mm, and range from 1-2 mm in width. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate to acute, erect-spreading when moist, and often contorted when dry. The leaf margins of E. fascicularis are plane below, and often weakly toothed above, and the cells along the margin are usually somewhat longer and narrower than the adjacent medial cells. The irregularly rectangular and smooth upper leaf cells are thin-walled and range is size from 50-70 µm long to 15-25 (up to 40) µm wide. Its basal cells are elongate-rectangular, with, occasionally, inflated cells present forming auricles, or ear-like lobes, at the leaf base. The costa, or midrib, usually ends below or in the leaf apex, although, rarely, it may be slightly excurrent.

Figure 1: Comparison of Entosthodon fascicularis and E. rubiginosusFootnote 4

Figure 1: Comparison of Entosthodon fascicularis (a – e) and E. rubiginosus

Entosthodon fascicularis (a – e) and E. rubiginosus (f – j); a, f: upper leaf margins (X 175); b, g: stem leaves (a:X12, b: X16); c, h: fresh capsules (c: X12, h: X16); d, i: dry capsules (d: X12, i: X16); e, j: upper cells of capsule walls (X 175); a, b, and f modified from Lawton, 1971, all others by T. McIntosh.

Entosthodon fascicularis is autoicous, with male and female organs on the same stem. The sporophytes are small, 5-9(-12) mm tall and mature in late winter and into spring. It has relatively large, distinct calyptrae (vegetative hoods that protect the young sporophyte), and they completely cover the maturing capsules. The calyptrae have long thin tips and are split near the base (see Cover Photo). The sporophytes have globose-pyriform capsules that are erect and red- to yellow-brown when mature, and often distinctly contracted below the mouth and wrinkled at the base when dry. The mouth of the capsule is bordered by a series of small transverse-rectangular cells below which are cells that are irregularly quadrate and slightly thickened (this character separates it from the similar E. rubiginosus, which has elongate and usually thicker-walled cells below the upper border). The operculum, or lid, at the top of the capsule is convex, and when it drops it reveals a rudimentary peristome, although the peristome is sometimes absent. The spores are papillose, or rough, and range in size from 22-30 µm.

Taxonomic keys and additional illustrations are found in Grout (1935), Lawton (1971), and Smith (1989, as Funaria fascicularis).


Footnote 4

Disclaimer: the original size of the drawing may not be reproduced accurately in the figure. The scales provided should be used only as indicators of relative size. Actual length measurements are given in the text.

Return to footnote 4 referrer