| |

Amblystegium densissimum: Exploring the Densely Packed Moss

Affiliate Disclaimer: As an affiliate, we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase from any of the links on this page at no additional cost to you!


amblystegium-moss-amblystegium-serpens-plant-with-sporophylls-XCJ1TP.jpg from: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/amblystegium-moss-amblystegium-serpens.html

Amblystegium densissimum Cardot: The Densely Packed Moss


The world of mosses is vast and fascinating, with over 12,000 species found across the globe. One particularly interesting species is


Plant-thumbnail-1024×758.jpg from: https://bantam.earth/nano-moss-amblystegium-serpen/

Amblystegium densissimum Cardot


fdb0e7ac169ece8bc0395e5316a3adf8.jpg from: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/amblystegium-serpens–2533343524237696/

, a small but mighty moss in the Plagiotheciaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of this unique moss, exploring its morphology, global distribution, habitat preferences, ecological roles, and adaptations. Get ready to be amazed by the wonders of Amblystegium densissimum!

Background on Mosses

Before we focus on


amblystegium-moss-amblystegium-serpens.jpg from: https://www.earth.com/plant-encyclopedia/bryophytes/amblystegiaceae/amblystegium-serpens/en/

A. densissimum specifically, let’s briefly review what mosses are. Mosses are small, non-vascular plants in the division Bryophyta. They lack true roots, stems, and leaves, instead having simple structures that serve similar functions. Mosses reproduce via spores rather than seeds and require moisture for reproduction. There are over 12,000 species of moss found all around the world, from the Arctic to the tropics.

Morphology and Identification

Amblystegium densissimum is a small pleurocarpous moss, meaning its sporophytes grow laterally from the stem. Its scientific name comes from the Latin words “amblys” meaning blunt, “stegium” meaning little roof, “densissimum” meaning very dense, and “Cardot” referring to the botanist Jules Cardot who first described the species.
The stems of A. densissimum


6B9E2BE78BD4480CAE0698CA25537F6C.jpeg from: https://www.picturethisai.com/wiki/Amblystegium_serpens.html

are creeping to ascending, irregularly branched, and typically 1-3 cm long. The leaves are small, 0.5-1.2 mm long, and densely arranged, giving the moss its name. They are ovate to ovate-lanceolate in shape with an acuminate apex. The leaf margins are entire and the costa (midrib) is short and double or absent.


8a86509565e1333998e55c1ca3aab8d4.jpg from: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/amblystegium-serpens–2533343524237692/

One key identifying feature is the very dense, julaceous (worm-like) foliage. The leaves are erect to erect-spreading when dry, giving the stems a thick, cord-like appearance. Sporophytes are rare, with a short seta and ovoid to ellipsoid capsule.


5485874396_2eb84ebf07_b.jpg from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenbuchan/5485874396

Global Distribution and Habitat

Amblystegium densissimum has a scattered global distribution, being found in:

  • Europe: Scandinavia, British Isles, Central Europe
  • Asia: Japan, Korea, Himalaya, Siberia
  • North America: Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Northeastern US and Canada
  • South America: Andes Mountains

This moss typically grows on damp, shaded rocks, cliffs, and boulders, especially those that are calcareous (lime-rich). It can also sometimes be found on tree bases, rotting logs, or soil in humid forests. A. densissimum prefers humid, montane habitats and is often found near streams, waterfalls, and in ravines from lowlands to 3000 m in elevation.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, Amblystegium densissimum plays important ecological roles:

  • Nutrient cycling: Mosses help capture and cycle nutrients, enriching their substrate.
  • Moisture retention: The dense mats of A. densissimum help trap and retain moisture.
  • Erosion control: By covering bare rocks and soil, this moss helps prevent erosion.
  • Habitat for micro-organisms: Many tiny invertebrates make their homes among the stems and leaves.

A. densissimum has several adaptations that allow it to thrive in its preferred microhabitats:


d54f14d5c7277af490439714e13e0ea7.jpg from: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/amblystegium-serpens–2533343524237702/

  • Dense growth form: The tightly packed leaves help retain moisture and protect from dessication.
  • Tolerance of low nutrient substrates: This moss can grow on bare, acidic rocks by efficiently absorbing nutrients from rainwater and detritus.
  • Shade tolerance

    Amblystegium-varium-4.jpg from: https://ohiomosslichen.org/amblystegium-varium-3/

    : The shaded, sheltered microhabitats this moss prefers allow it to avoid excessive sun and wind exposure.



Amblystegium_serpens,I_MWS46555.jpg from: https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Amblystegium

Amblystegium densissimum Cardot may be a small and inconspicuous moss, but it has a fascinating ecology and some amazing adaptations. From its densely julaceous stems to its ability to thrive on damp, shaded rocks, this species demonstrates the incredible diversity of the bryophyte world. Next time you’re out in nature, take a closer look – you might just spot a patch of A. densissimum on a boulder or cliff face! What other mighty mosses have you encountered in your explorations?

Similar Posts