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Unveiling the World of Orthotrichum arnellii: A Fascinating Moss Species

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strangulate-orthotrichum-moss-orthotrichum-strangulatum.jpg from: https://www.earth.com/plant-encyclopedia/bryophytes/orthotrichaceae/orthotrichum-strangulatum/en/

Exploring the Fascinating World of Orthotrichum arnellii Grönvall Moss


Mosses are often overlooked, but they play crucial roles in ecosystems around the world. One particularly interesting species is Orthotrichum arnellii Grönvall, a moss in the Orthotrichaceae family. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of this fascinating plant, from its morphology to its ecological importance.


Orthotrichum arnellii Grönvall is a species of moss, which are non-vascular plants in the division Bryophyta. Mosses lack true roots, stems, and leaves, instead having structures that serve similar functions. They reproduce via spores rather than seeds and are found in a wide range of habitats worldwide.


br-164a4.jpg from: https://www.dorsetnature.co.uk/pages-bry/br-164.html

Morphology and Identification

O. arnellii forms small cushions or tufts, typically growing on the bark of trees. Its leaves are lanceolate (lance-shaped) and have a single costa (midrib). The leaf margins are


221210145400_DSC_0014.JPG.full.JPG from: https://wildbristol.uk/groups/ferns-horsetails-mosses-liverworts/anomalous-bristle-moss/

entire (smooth-edged). A key identifying feature is the presence of gemmae, which are small reproductive structures, on the leaves.


6243386742_d4fdb28a6a_b.jpg from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gjshepherd/6243386742/

The sporophytes


04-16by08moss.jpg from: https://www.nawwal.org/~mrgoff/photojournal/2005/winspr/04-16by08moss.html

(spore-producing structures) of O. arnellii are emergent and have 8 furrows when dry. The calyptra


orthotrichum-moss-orthotrichum-affine-at-a-tree-trunk-germany-baden-EBT92E.jpg from: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-orthotrichum-moss-orthotrichum-affine-at-a-tree-trunk-germany-baden-76136662.html

(protective covering over the capsule) is hairy. These traits help distinguish it from similar


wood-bristle-moss-orthotrichum-affine-with-capsule-germany-TREE63.jpg from: https://www.alamy.com/wood-bristle-moss-orthotrichum-affine-with-capsule-germany-image255400715.html

Orthotrichum species.

Global Distribution and Habitat

O. arnellii has a wide distribution, being found across Europe, Asia, and North America. It typically grows as an epiphyte on the bark of deciduous trees like oak and ash in forests and woodlands. The moss is able to tolerate drier conditions than some other species in the genus.

Ecological Roles and Adaptations

Like other mosses, O. arnellii plays important roles in its ecosystem:

  • Moisture retention: Moss cushions trap and hold moisture, helping to regulate humidity in the immediate environment.
  • Nutrient cycling: As mosses decompose, they release nutrients back into the soil.
  • Habitat provision: Many small invertebrates live among moss cushions.

O. arnellii has adaptations that allow it to thrive as an epiphyte:

  • Tolerance of desiccation: The moss can survive periods of drying out and rehydrate when moisture is available again.
  • Lightweight spores: The small, lightweight spores are easily dispersed by wind to colonize new tree bark surfaces.



8625591538_7fd9eb7a2a_z.jpg from: https://flickriver.com/photos/maximillian_millipede/8625591538/

Orthotrichum arnellii Grönvall


Epiphytic-moss-Orthotrichum-striatum-photo-by-V-Plasek.png from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Epiphytic-moss-Orthotrichum-striatum-photo-by-V-Plasek_fig6_321119196

is a prime example of how even tiny organisms like mosses can be fascinating and ecologically important. Its unique adaptations allow it to thrive in its epiphytic niche. Next time you’re in the woods, take a closer look at the tree bark and see if you can spot this intriguing moss! What other secrets of the bryophyte world remain to be uncovered?


210926170842_DSC06164.JPG.full.JPG from: https://wildbristol.uk/groups/ferns-horsetails-mosses-liverworts/lyells-bristle-moss/

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