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Bryum subalbulum var. robustum: A Robust Moss of Global Significance

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image from: https://ohiomosslichen.org/moss-bryum-caespiticium/


In the vast and captivating world of bryophytes, the Bryum subalbulum var. robustum P.de la Varde moss stands out as a remarkable member of the Bryaceae family. Often referred to simply as Bryum, this unassuming yet fascinating plant has captured the hearts of moss enthusiasts worldwide. Let’s delve into the intriguing realm of this diminutive botanical wonder.


Before we explore the specifics of Bryum subalbulum var. robustum, it’s essential to understand the broader context of bryophytes. These non-vascular plants, collectively known as Bryophyta, encompass mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. They are among the oldest land plants on Earth, dating back over 400 million years, and play crucial roles in various ecosystems.

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Morphology and Identification

Bryum subalbulum var. robustum is a small, acrocarpous moss that forms dense, cushion-like tufts or mats. Its stems are typically unbranched, and the leaves are ovate to lanceolate in shape, with a distinctive midrib running along their length. The leaf margins are often entire or slightly serrated, and the leaf tips can be acute or obtuse.
One of the distinguishing features of this moss is its robust appearance, as suggested by its varietal name. The plants tend to be larger and more vigorous compared to other varieties within the Bryum genus.

Global Distribution and Habitat

Bryum subalbulum var. robustum


image from: https://www.techno-science.net/glossaire-definition/Bryum.html

is widely distributed across various regions of the world, including Europe, North America, Asia, and parts of Africa. It thrives in a range of habitats, from moist and shaded areas to exposed rock surfaces and disturbed soils.
This moss is often found growing on soil, rocks, tree bases, and even in urban environments, such as sidewalk cracks and old walls. Its ability to colonize diverse substrates and tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions contributes to its widespread distribution.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Despite their diminutive size, mosses like Bryum subalbulum var. robustum


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play vital roles in their ecosystems. They act as pioneers, colonizing bare or disturbed areas and facilitating the establishment of other plant species. Additionally, they contribute to soil formation, water retention, and nutrient cycling.


image from: https://ohiomosslichen.org/bryum-capillare-5/

One of the remarkable adaptations of Bryum subalbulum var. robustum is its ability to withstand desiccation. During dry periods, the moss can enter a state of dormancy, curling up its leaves and reducing metabolic activity. When moisture becomes available again, it quickly revives and resumes growth, showcasing its resilience in challenging environments.


image from: https://ohiomosslichen.org/moss-Bryum-argenteum/

Case Studies/Examples

In a study conducted in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, researchers found


image from: https://bryophyteportal.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxauthid=1&taxon=Bryum&clid=161

Bryum subalbulum var. robustum thriving on exposed rock outcrops and cliff faces. Its ability to establish itself in these harsh conditions highlights its adaptability and tolerance to extreme environments.
Another interesting example comes from urban areas, where this moss has been observed growing on concrete sidewalks and building walls. Its presence in these human-made habitats demonstrates its versatility and ability to colonize even the most unlikely of places.

Technical Table


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image from: https://www.alamy.es/imagenes/musgo-bryum.html


image from: https://www.earth.com/plants/bryum-moss-bryum-flaccidum/


image from: https://ohiomosslichen.org/moss-bryum-pseudotriquetrum/

Characteristic Description
Family Bryaceae
Genus Bryum
Species subalbulum
Variety robustum
Growth Form Acrocarpous, cushion-like tufts or mats
Leaf Shape Ovate to lanceolate
Leaf Margin Entire or slightly serrated
Leaf Tip Acute or obtuse
Habitat Moist and shaded areas, exposed rock surfaces, disturbed soils, urban environments
Distribution Widespread across Europe, North America, Asia, and parts of Africa


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