Species fact sheet common Name: Frizzled Crisp-moss Scientific Name

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Common Name: Frizzled Crisp-moss

Scientific Name: Tortella tortuosa (Hedw.) Limpr.

Recent synonyms: None

Division: Bryophyta

Class: Bryopsida

Order: Pottiales

Family: Pottiaceae

Taxonomic Note: None
Technical Description: Plants strongly crisped and contorted when dry, green to yellowish-green, forming tufts or cushions up to 6 cm tall; leaves imbricate when dry, spreading when moist, linear-lanceolate, 2–6 mm long, apex acute, spirally curled when dry; margins undulate; costa excurrent as an entire or serrualte pint; upper median cells quadrate-hexagonal, 7–10 µm, papillose; basal cells elongate, clear, forming a distinct “v” along the margin to about the middle of the leaf. Dioicous; seta 15–20 mm long; capsule 1.8–33 mm long, peristome teeth long, spirally twisted together; spores about 9– 11µm, smooth or finely papillose.
Distinctive characters: (1) strongly crisped and contorted leaves when dry (2) intact leaf tips (3) spirally curled leaf tips when dry.

Similar species: Tortella fragilis is separated from T. toruosa by having broken leaf tips and it is not strongly crisped when dry. Trichostomum tenuirostre also has spirally twisted and curled leaf tips but the hyaline basal cells do not extend up the leaf margins. While there is a variety, T. tortuosa var. fragilifolia that does have broken leaf tips, according to Crum & Anderson (1981) this species could not be confused with T. fragilis because the leaves are not strongly crisped and spirally twisted when dry.

Other descriptions and illustrations: Crum & Anderson 1981; Lawton 1971; Eckle 2007.
Life History: Specific details for this species are not well documented. In general the protonema, spore germination and development are typical of all mosses. According to Schofield (1976), and Eckle (2007) sporophytes are occasionally produced or seldom found.

Range, Distribution, and Abundance: Tortella tortuosa is widespread in Europe, the Caucasus, Asia, Japan, Canary Islands, North Africa, Siberia, China and the Himalayas. In North America it has been reported from across Canada, Greenland, Michigan and the

mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. In the Pacific Northwest it has been found in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Wyoming.

Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center reports Tortella tortuosa from Baker County in the Blue Mountain Ecoregion and in Clatsop County in the Coast Range Ecoregion.
BLM: Suspected on Medford District

USFS: Documented on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan

National Forests, Suspected on the Wallowa-Whitman

National Forest

Other: Found in Asotin County, Washington.

Habitat Associations: Tortella tortuosa is a calciphile that grows on rock or occasionally on dry soil in exposed locations. Schofield (1976) states that in British Columbia this species occurs on calcareous cliffs from sea-level to alpine elevations.
Threats: Quarrying, road or trail construction could pose a threat to this species. Rock climbing in or around known locations could also be a threat.
Conservation Considerations: All known localities could be revisited to determine the extent of the populations and characterize habitats. It would be good to explore similar habitat to find new populations. This species should be relatively easy to survey for as it is restricted to calcareous substratum.
Conservation Rankings and Status:

Global: G5, Oregon (S1), British Columbia (S4)

Oregon: ORNHIC List 3

Washington: Not ranked

BLM/USFS Strategic Species in Oregon

Preparer: Judith A. Harpel Ph.D.

Date Completed: November 2008
Crum, H. & L. Anderson. 1981. Mosses of Eastern North America. 2

volumes. Columbia University Press, New York. 1328 pp.

Eckle, P. 2007. Tortella in Flora of North America North of Mexico.

Bryophyta Vol. 27 Part 1: 498-511. Oxford Univ. Press. Oxford.

Lawton. E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. The Hattori

Botanical Laboratory. Nichinan, Miyazaki, Japan. 362 pp.

NatureServe Explorer. 2008. An Online Encyclopedia of Life. http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/
Schofield, W.B. 1976. Bryophytes of British Columbia III: habitat and

distributional information for selected mosses. Syesis 9: 317 –


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