A mat of Leiomitrium

A mat of Leiomitrium

Leiomitrium plicatum: 

  • Forms mats of creeping stems with numerous short branches
  • Is yellow-brown to green in colour
  • Is dioicous

Branch leaves:

Different shaped Leiomitrium leaves

Examples of Leiomitrium branch leaf shapes. Left = lanceolate, right = broadly oblong with rounded tip.


  • Closely appressed to the stem when dry but spread out when wet
  • Vary in shape from lanceolate to broadly oblong with a rounded leaf tip
  • 0.8-1.5mm long

Upper leaf cells:

  • Irregularly rounded and bulging 
  • 1-3 papillae per cell

Cells at the base of the leaf:

  • Rounded in shape
  • Either smooth or have 1 papilla per cell
Upper leaf cells of Leiomitrium

Upper leaf cells of Leiomitrium

Thickened midrib of the leaf:

  • Broad
  • Ends below the leaf tip

Leaves arising from the creeping stem: 

Slightly different to the branch leaves, with:

  • more pointed tips
  • cells either smooth or with only 1 papilla

Setae (the stalks to which capsules are attached):

  • Stout
  • Sheathed by a long cup-shaped structure (ochrea)
Leiomitrium with capsules

Leiomitrium with capsules


  • Cylindric 
  • 8 groves
  • 2 layers of peristome

Calyptrae (protective caps covering capsules):

  • Relatively large
  • Mitrate (shaped like a bishop’s miter)
  • Hairy


Producing male and female sex organs on different plants.

A minute protuberance that sometimes occurs on leaf cell walls. Papillae are useful identification characters.

The circle of teeth inside the mouth of a moss capsule.