| |

Unveiling the Enchanting Moss: Lepidozia sellingiana H.A.Mill.

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!


lepidozia-163.jpg from: https://www.cpbr.gov.au/bryophyte/photos-captions/lepidozia-163.html

Exploring the Fascinating World of Lepidozia sellingiana H.A.Mill. Moss


Mosses are small but mighty plants that play important ecological roles in many ecosystems around the world. One particularly interesting species is Lepidozia sellingiana H.A.Mill., a moss in the Lepidoziaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this fascinating plant, from its unique morphology to its global distribution and ecological adaptations.

Background on Lepidozia Mosses

The genus Lepidozia contains over 100 species of leafy liverworts found on every continent except Antarctica. These small plants are characterized by their creeping growth habit, with branching stems that form dense mats on the ground, rocks, or tree trunks. The leaves of Lepidozia mosses are deeply divided into narrow lobes or teeth.


lepidozia-3a350e3f-88dc-47b3-addb-7ada75d9b1e-resize-750.jpeg from: https://alchetron.com/Lepidozia

Lepidozia sellingiana was first described by the botanist Herbert A. Miller


b57d76da011a077074bdfdc9cf077769.jpg from: https://www.asturnatura.com/familia/lepidoziaceae.html

in 1968. It is named after the collector of the type specimen, Selling.

Morphology and Identification

Lepidozia sellingiana is a small moss, with shoots typically reaching 2-5 cm long. The leaves are arranged in three rows and divided into 3-4 narrow, pointed lobes. The underleaves (modified leaves on the underside of the stem) are much smaller than the lateral leaves.


A-B-Herbertus-sendtneri-Nees-Lindb-C-Lepidozia-trichodes-Reinw-et-al-Nees-D.ppm from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-B-Herbertus-sendtneri-Nees-Lindb-C-Lepidozia-trichodes-Reinw-et-al-Nees-D_fig64_357776052


a403c6b2be85169207f140973eec012d.jpg from: https://www.asturnatura.com/fotografia/flora/lepidozia-reptans-2/32750.html

One key identifying feature of L. sellingiana is the presence of gemmae


lepidozia_reptans_detail.jpeg from: https://www.korseby.net/outer/flora/bryophyta/lepidoziaceae/index.html

, small reproductive structures that allow the plant to reproduce asexually. The gemmae of this species are


252724_orig.jpg from: https://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/lepidozia-filamentosa.html

reddish-brown and produced on the tips of short, specialized branches.

Global Distribution and Habitat

Lepidozia sellingiana has a


169138.jpg from: https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/6621

disjunct distribution, meaning it occurs in widely separated geographic areas. It is found in:


medium.jpg from: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/403344-Lepidozia-setigera

  • Western North America, from Alaska to California
  • Hawaii
  • East Asia, including Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia

This moss typically grows on rotting logs, tree bases, and humus in moist, shaded forests. In Hawaii, it occurs in montane rainforests dominated by native trees such as ‘ōhi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha).

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, Lepidozia sellingiana plays several important roles in forest ecosystems:

  1. Nutrient cycling: Mosses trap and store nutrients, releasing them slowly over time. This helps maintain soil fertility.

  2. Moisture retention: The dense mats formed by mosses help retain moisture in the soil and provide humid microhabitats for other organisms.

  3. Erosion control: By stabilizing soil and absorbing water, mosses help prevent erosion on forest floors and streambanks.

Lepidozia sellingiana has several adaptations that allow it to thrive in its shaded, moist habitat:

  • Efficient photosynthesis: The lobed leaves provide a large surface area for capturing limited light that filters through the forest canopy.

  • Asexual reproduction: The ability to reproduce via gemmae allows L. sellingiana to spread locally even when conditions are not suitable for sexual reproduction.


    224299.jpg from: https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/6623

  • Desiccation tolerance: Like many mosses, L. sellingiana can survive periods of drying out and rehydrate when moisture becomes available again.


Lepidozia sellingiana may be a small and unassuming plant, but it has a fascinating biology and plays an important role in the forest ecosystems where it occurs. Its unique morphology, disjunct distribution, and ecological adaptations make it a compelling subject for botanical study.
Next time you’re walking through a humid forest, take a closer look at the mossy patches around you – you might just spot this intriguing species! What other secrets do you think the miniature world of mosses holds?

Similar Posts