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Published In: Bryologia Europaea 6: 5 (fasc. 52–56. Mon. 1.). 1853. (Bryol. Eur.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/3/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 10/8/2017)
Plant Category: Mosses
General Reference:

Notes     (Last Modified On 10/8/2017)

Brachythecium contains about 160-180 species, widespread in the temperate regions, in the tropics restricted to the montane. About 15 species recorded for the Neotropics. Brachythecium is rather variable and necessarily defined by a series of characters. In general, stems and branches are terete-foliate, leaves of stem and branch little differentiated, the latter smaller, narrower, plicate or not, margins entire or serrulate, median and upper cells mostly greater than 50 µm, alar cells often quadrate, somewhat well differentiated, seta smooth to papillose throughout or distally, capsules curved or inclined, and opercula conic to conic-apiculate. This treatment is adopted and modified from McFarland (1988).


Brachythecium contiene ca. 160-180 especies, amplia distribución en regiones templadas, en el trópico está restringido a zonas montañosas. Aproximadamente 15 especies son registradas en el Neotrópico. Brachythecium es bastante variable y es definido necesariamente por una serie de características. En general, tallos y ramas son terete-foliados, las hojas del tallo y las rama están poco diferenciadas, las últimas son menores, más angostas, plegadas o no, márgenes enteros o serrulados, células mediales y superiores generalmente mayores a 50 µm, células alares a menudo cuadradas, algo bien diferenciadas, seta lisa hasta papilosa en toda la superficie o distalmente, cápsulas curvadas o inclinadas y opérculo cónico a cónico-apiculado. Las características a distinguir cuando se identifica este género incluyen si las hojas son plegadas, forma y longitud del ápice de las hojas, bases de las hojas decurrentes o no, y condición sexual de las plantas.


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Plants medium sized to large and robust, forming mats or tufts, glossy green, pale yellow to golden-brown. Stems and branches spreading to ascending, terete to weakly complanate distally, irregularly to regularly pinnately branched; central strand present; paraphyllia absent; pseudoparaphyllia foliose; radiculose. Stem leaves loosely erect to erect-spreading, ovate-triangular or -lanceolate, less often ovate, generally plicate, plications weak to strong, concave, apex gradually to abruptly short to long acuminate, often half or fully twisted, base rounded to subcordate, usually decurrent; margins plane to reflexed or recurved toward base, entire to serrate or serrulate distally, rarely to near base; costae single, 1/2-2/3 lamina length, often ending in an indistinct tooth on back; laminal cells smooth, thin- to ± thick-walled, apical cells usually linear; median cells linear-vermicular to fusiform; basal cells irregularly rectangular to subhexagonal, usually porose; alar region differentiated, cells quadrate to rectangular, firm to ± lax. Branch leaves similar but smaller and often narrower. Gemmae absent. Autoicous, synoicous or dioicous, occasionally polygamous. Perichaetia lateral; leaves usually differentiated from stem leaves. Setae elongate, smooth to papillose. Capsules suberect to horizontal, urn oblong-ovoid to cylindrical, slightly curved, asymmetric; annuli differentiated or not; opercula conic-apiculate; peristome double, exostome teeth 16, striate below, mostly papillose distally; endostome basal membrane high, segments 16, cilia 1-3(4). Calyptrae cucullate, smooth and naked. Spores spherical, lightly papillose or nearly smooth.


Plantas medianas hasta grandes y robustas, formando matas o manojos, de color verde brillante, amarillo pálido hasta pardo-dorado. Tallos y ramas patentes hasta ascendentes, teretes hasta débilmente comprimidas distalmente, ramificaciones irregularmente hasta regularmente pinnadas; cordón central presente; paráfilos ausentes; pseudoparáfilos foliosos; radiculosos. Hojas del tallo laxamente erectas hasta erecto-extendidas, ovado-triangulares o -lanceoladas, poco frecuentemente ovadas, generalmente plegadas, pliegues débiles a fuertes, cóncavas, ápices gradualmente hasta abruptamente corto- a largo-acuminados, a menudo medio o completamente torcidos, bases redondeadas hasta subcordadas, generalmente decurrentes; márgenes planos hasta reflexos o recurvados hacia la base, distalmente enteros hasta serrados o serrulados, rara vez cerca de la base; costa simple, ocupando 1/2-2/3 de la longitud de la lámina, a menudo terminando en un diente indistinto (difícil de distinguir) en el envés; células de la lámina lisas, con paredes delgadas a ± gruesas, células apicales generalmente lineales; células mediales lineo-vermiculares hasta fusiformes; células basales irregularmente rectangulares hasta subhexagonales, generalmente porosas; región alar diferenciada, células cuadradas a rectangulares, firmes a ± laxas. Hojas de las ramas similares pero menores y a menudo más angostas. Yemas ausentes. Autoicas, sinoicas o dioicas, ocasionalmente polígamas. Periquecios laterales; hojas generalmente diferenciadas de las hojas del tallo. Setas largas, lisas hasta papilosas. Cápsulas suberectas hasta horizontales, urna oblongo-ovoide hasta cilíndrica, escasamente curvada, asimétrica; anillo diferenciado o no; opérculo cónico-apiculado; peristoma doble, exostoma 16 con dientes, estriado hacia la base, por lo general papiloso distalmente; membrana basal del endostoma alta, con 16 segmentos, 1-3(4) cilios. Caliptra cuculada, lisa y desnuda. Esporas esféricas, finamente papilosas, rara vez casi lisas.


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1. Stem leaves gradually narrowed into short to long apices … 2.

1. Stem leaves abruptly narrowed into short to long apices … 14.

2. Stem leaf apices short, apiculate, acute, and/or blunt, ± homomallous … 3.

2. Stem leaf apices longer, ± not or variously bent … 5.

3. Terminal cell of stem leaves distinctly smaller than apical cells, median cells ± long fusiform … 4.

3. Terminal cell of stem leaves similar in size to apical cells, median cells linear; seta papillose throughout … B. rutabulum

4. Leaves ± homomallous; stem leaf apices apiculate, alar cells in discrete group, areolation narrow and smaller; autoicous; setae papillose above … B. plumosum

4. Leaves straight; stem leaf apices acute, alar cells in columns gradually transitioning into basal cells, areolation lax; sexuality and sporophytes unknown … B. rivularioides

5. Stem leaves with long ± broad decurrencies … 6.

5. Stem leaves with short or weak decurrencies … 8.

6. Pseudoparaphyllia orbicular to ovate-apiculate or acute; autoicous; setae papillose … B. rutabulum

6. Pseudoparaphyllia ovate-acuminate; dioicous; setae smooth … 7.

7. Stem leaves with lax areolation (median cells ca. 10.6 µm), alar and basal cells weakly differentiated; costa with short lateral spurs extending into leaf lamina; margins entire … B. conostomum

7. Stem leaves with small and narrower areolation (median cells ca. 6-8 µm), alar and basal cells differentiated; costa rarely with short lateral spurs; margins serrulate to serrate … B. ruderale

8. Stem leaves strongly plicate … 9.

8. Stem leaves not to weakly plicate or only at base … 11.

9. Stem leaves mostly greater than 2.0 mm long, elongate-triangular, long tapering acuminate; autoicous; setae smooth … B. austroglareosum

9. Stem leaves mostly less than 2.0 mm long, ovate to broadly ovate short- to long acuminate; synoicous, autoicous or dioicous; setae smooth or papillose …. 10.

10. Leaf areolation loose, basal and alar cells more lax than median cells; dioicous; seta smooth … B. ruderale

10. Leaf areolation more compact, basal cells slightly broader than median cells; alar cells small indiscrete groups; synoicous or rarely autoicous; setae papillose … B. praelongum

11. Stem leaves erect to spreading; branch leaves ± squarrose when moist, ± curved; alar cells small, as wide as basal cells, indiscrete groups; autoicous … B. occidentale

11. Stem leaves straight, imbricate erect when moist; branch leaves never squarrose, alar cells medium-sized to lax ± inflated, wider than basal cells; autoicous or dioicous … 12.

12. Plants dioicous … B. ruderale

12. Plants autoicous … 13.

13. Pseudoparaphyllia orbicular to ovate-apiculate or acute; setae with tall dense papillae … B. rutabulum

13. Pseudoparaphyllia ovate-acuminate; setae with low diffuse papillae … B. chocayae

14. Stem leaves with long, ± broad decurrencies; autoicous; setae papillose … B. rutabulum

14. Stem leaves with weak or short decurrencies; autoicous or dioicous; setae smooth or papillose … 15.

15. Stem leaf areolation lax, median leaf cells ca. 10 µm wide; costa with prominent short lateral spurs extending into lamina; setae smooth … B. conostomum

15. Stem leaf areolation narrower, median leaf cells averaging 7 µm wide; costa lacking lateral spurs; setae papillose … B. cirriphylloides

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