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Lepidopilum Krauseanum: The Scaly Moss with a Big Impact

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Figuras-28-35-Lepidopilum-caudicaule-Muell-Hal-28-Habito-29-Detalhe-do-gametofito.png from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Figuras-28-35-Lepidopilum-caudicaule-Muell-Hal-28-Habito-29-Detalhe-do-gametofito_fig2_250021397

Lepidopilum krauseanum: The Fascinating Moss of the Pilotrichaceae Family


Have you ever stopped to admire the tiny, intricate world of mosses? One particularly interesting species is Lepidopilum krauseanum Müll.Hal., a moss belonging to the Pilotrichaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the fascinating details of this diminutive but important plant.



Compleat-Naturalist-Lichen-100-IMG-4193-Amanda-.jpg from: http://thelaurelofasheville.com/outdoors/conservation/compleat-naturalist-lichens-colorful-fascinating/

Lepidopilum krauseanum is a species of moss first described by German botanist Carl Müller in 1874. It is classified in the Bryophyta division and Bryopsida class. The genus name Lepidopilum comes from the Greek words lepis meaning “scale” and pilos


247806.jpg from: https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/4771/tab/taxo

meaning “cap”, referring to the scaly calyptra that covers the capsule.

Morphology and Identification

L. krauseanum forms small, dense mats on tree trunks, branches, and logs in humid forests. The stems are creeping to ascending, irregularly branched, and covered in ovate-lanceolate leaves. The leaves have a short, double costa (midrib) and are bordered by elongate cells.


spot-green-moss-fungus-on-600w-736691311.jpg from: https://roxpod.blogspot.com/2020/02/is-moss-plant-or-fungus.html

The most distinctive feature of L. krauseanum is its capsule, which is held on a tall seta and has a characteristic scaly, hairy calyptra. Capsules are ovoid to cylindrical and have a peristome with 16 teeth. Spores are spherical and papillose.

Global Distribution and Habitat

Lepidopilum krauseanum has a wide distribution across the Neotropics, from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. It is found in moist, shaded habitats in lowland to montane tropical forests, typically growing as an epiphyte on tree bark but also occasionally on rocks or logs.


lepidopilum-carneum-eb-bartram-lepidopilum-carneum-eb-bartram-2BXEWRT.jpg from: https://www.alamy.com/lepidopilum-carneum-eb-bartram-lepidopilum-carneum-eb-bartram-image360516012.html


Figura-3-Calymperaceae-e-Dicranaceae-a-h-Calymperes-erosum-Muell-Hal-a-Aspecto-geral.png from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Figura-3-Calymperaceae-e-Dicranaceae-a-h-Calymperes-erosum-Muell-Hal-a-Aspecto-geral_fig3_262616252

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, L. krauseanum plays important ecological roles:

L. krauseanum has several adaptations for its epiphytic lifestyle:

  • Scaly leaves help capture and retain water from humid air
  • Rhizoids anchor the moss to bark surfaces
  • Tolerance of low light levels in shaded understory habitats


From its intricate morphology to its ecological significance, Lepidopilum krauseanum is a prime example of the fascinating world of mosses. Next time you’re walking through a tropical forest, take a closer look – you might just spot this tiny but mighty species making its home on the trees around you. What other secrets of the bryophyte world are waiting to be discovered?


Moss-Sporophytes.jpg from: https://www.nps.gov/acad/learn/nature/moss.htm


5abe9b050e9c4493c18e432371e55dc8.jpg from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/370561875564254939/

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