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Unveiling the Hidden World of Strepsilejeunea squarrosula: A Curious Moss of Tropical Rainforests

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Exploring the Fascinating World of Strepsilejeunea squarrosula Herzog Moss


Mosses are some of the most ancient and resilient plants on Earth, with over 12,000 species found across the globe. One particularly intriguing species is


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Strepsilejeunea squarrosula Herzog, a tiny but mighty moss in the Lejeuneaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the captivating world of S. squarrosula and discover what makes this little plant so special.


Strepsilejeunea squarrosula is a species of leafy liverwort moss in the class Jungermanniopsida and division Marchantiophyta. It was first described by German botanist Theodor Herzog in 1951. The name “Strepsilejeunea” comes from the Greek words strepsis meaning “a twisting” and lejeunea in honor of French botanist Alexandre Lejeune.

Morphology and Identification

S. squarrosula is a very small moss, with shoots typically only 1-3 cm long. The leaves are arranged in two rows and are ovate to oblong in shape with a pointed or rounded tip. A key identifying feature is the leaves curl back or spread out at a wide angle from the stem, giving it a squarrose


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appearance (hence the species name). The leaves are translucent and only 1-2 cells thick


Tassel%2Bmoss%2Bleaves.jpg from: https://bigworldtinyorganisms.blogspot.com/2015/11/specimen-16-tassel-moss.html

. Like other liverworts, it lacks a midrib.

Global Distribution and Habitat

This moss has a pantropical distribution, found in tropical regions around the world including Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It grows as an


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epiphyte on tree bark and branches in humid lowland and montane rainforests from sea level up to about 2000 m elevation


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. It prefers


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partial shade and high humidity.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations


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As an epiphyte, S. squarrosula plays an important role in nutrient cycling and moisture retention in forest ecosystems. Its mat-like growth traps water, organic debris, and provides a microhabitat for invertebrates. The leaves are covered in lobular structures that aid in absorbing water and nutrients. It can tolerate periods of desiccation


seligersherzogiellamosssharpiellaseligeri.jpg from: https://www.earth.com/plant-encyclopedia/Bryophytes/Hypnaceae/sharpiella-seligeri/en/

by curling its leaves to reduce surface area and water loss.


Strepsilejeunea squarrosula may be small, but it is a fascinating and ecologically important member of tropical forest communities around the world. Its unique adaptations allow it to thrive in challenging epiphytic habitats. Next time you’re in the rainforest, take a closer look at the trees – you just might spot this marvelous little moss! What other secrets of the bryophyte world are waiting to be uncovered?


Acarospora-squamulosa-lectotype-Schrader-No-15-M-A-Subsquamulose-imbricate-thallus.jpg from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Acarospora-squamulosa-lectotype-Schrader-No-15-M-A-Subsquamulose-imbricate-thallus_fig1_333995201

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