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Exploring Orthotrichum rupestre var. bauerianum: A Resilient Moss in the Orthotrichaceae Family

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Orthotrichum_rupestre_002.JPG from: https://cisfbr.org.uk/Bryo/Cornish_Bryophytes_Orthotrichum_rupestre.html

Exploring the Fascinating World of Orthotrichum rupestre var. bauerianum Moss


Mosses are some of the most ancient and resilient plants on Earth, with over 12,000 species found across the globe. One particularly interesting species is Orthotrichum rupestre var. bauerianum (Schiffn.) Podp., a moss in the Orthotrichaceae family. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at this fascinating little plant and learn about its unique characteristics and ecological importance.

Background on Mosses

Before diving into the specifics of O. rupestre var. bauerianum, let’s review some background on mosses in general. Mosses are non-vascular plants in the division Bryophyta. They lack true roots, stems, and leaves, instead having simple leaf-like structures called phyllids. Mosses reproduce via spores rather than seeds and are found in a wide range of habitats, from arctic tundra to tropical rainforests.


medium.jpg from: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/165970-Orthotrichum-rupestre

Morphology and Identification


2019-04-Orthotrichum-rupestre.jpg from: https://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/bryophyte-of-the-month/orthotrichum-rupestre/

Orthotrichum rupestre var. bauerianum is a small acrocarpous moss, meaning it bears sporophytes at the tips of the stems. The shoots are typically 5-20 mm tall. The leaves are lanceolate in shape, 1.5-2.5 mm long, and have recurved margins. One key identifying feature is the presence of immersed stomata


o_rupestre1.jpg from: https://soe.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/orthotrichum_rupestre.html

on the capsules.
The scientific classification of this moss is:

Global Distribution and Habitat


8d32195d4952068f702d72c59e0706a0.jpg from: https://www.asturnatura.com/especie/orthotrichum-rupestre.html

O. rupestre var. bauerianum has a widespread but scattered distribution. It is found across much of Europe, Asia, and North America. This moss typically grows on exposed, acidic rock surfaces like granite and sandstone. It is found in montane habitats up to elevations of about 2000 meters.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, O. rupestre var. bauerianum plays important roles in its ecosystem:

This hardy moss has several adaptations for surviving harsh, exposed environments:


The small but mighty Orthotrichum rupestre var. bauerianum


DSC_0639.JPG from: https://enelmoncayo.blogspot.com/2012/04/orthotrichum-rupestre-schleich-schwagr.html


2022-02-11-13-52-21.jpg from: https://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/learning/species-finder/orthotrichum-anomalum/

is a fascinating example of the incredible diversity and resilience of mosses. From its distinctive immersed stomata to its ability to thrive on barren rock faces, this species illustrates the remarkable adaptations of these ancient plants. Next time you’re out hiking in the mountains, keep an eye out for this tenacious little moss eking out a living in the cracks and crevices. Its unassuming appearance belies a rich natural history!

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