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Unveiling the Fascinating World of Cyclodictyon preussii: A Tropical Moss with a Global Reach

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Exploring the Fascinating World of Cyclodictyon preussii (Broth.) Broth. Moss


Mosses are some of the most ancient and resilient plants on Earth. One particularly interesting species is Cyclodictyon preussii (Broth.) Broth., a moss in the Pilotrichaceae 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 roles. Get ready to dive into the captivating world of


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Background on Mosses

Before we focus on C. preussii specifically, 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 structures that serve similar functions. Mosses reproduce via spores rather than seeds and are found in diverse habitats worldwide, from arctic tundra to tropical rainforests.

Morphology and Identification


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Cyclodictyon preussii is a pleurocarpous moss, meaning its reproductive structures (sporophytes) grow laterally from the stems. Its scientific name comes from the Greek words “cyclos” meaning circle and “dictyon” meaning net, referring to the rounded, net-like cells in its leaves. The leaves are ovate to oblong-lanceolate in shape and have a distinctly bordered margin. Sporophytes have elongated seta (stalks) and inclined, cylindrical capsules.


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Global Distribution and Habitat

This moss has a pantropical distribution, found in tropical regions across the Americas, Africa, and Asia. It typically grows on tree trunks, branches, and decaying logs in moist, shady forests at low to mid elevations (up to about 2000 m). C. preussii is often associated with other epiphytic bryophytes and forms dense mats on its substrate.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, Cyclodictyon preussii plays important ecological roles:

  • Moisture retention: Its mat-like growth traps and retains water, helping maintain humidity in its immediate environment.
  • Nutrient cycling: As it grows and decomposes, it contributes to nutrient cycling in its ecosystem.
  • Microhabitats: The mats provide microhabitats for various invertebrates and other organisms.

C. preussii has adaptations that allow it to thrive as an epiphyte:

  • Absorptive structures: Rhizoids anchor the moss to its substrate and absorb water and nutrients.
  • Desiccation tolerance: It can survive periods of drying out and rehydrate when moisture is available again.
Characteristic Description
Division Bryophyta
Class Bryopsida
Family Pilotrichaceae
Growth form Pleurocarpous
Leaf shape Ovate to oblong-lanceolate
Leaf margin Distinctly bordered
Sporophyte Elongated seta, inclined cylindrical capsule
Habitat Epiphytic in tropical forests


Cyclodictyon preussii is a prime example of the amazing diversity and adaptations found in mosses. From its net-like leaf cells to its pantropical distribution, this small but mighty plant plays significant roles in its ecosystems. Next time you’re in a tropical forest, take a closer look at the trees and logs – you just might spot a patch of Cyclodictyon making its home there! What other secrets do you think these ancient plants hold?

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