Close relatives

Diagnostic Description

Leiomitrium plicatum is a very distinctive species. It is distinguished from other members of the Orthotrichaceae family by the combination of:

  • a creeping habit
  • obtuse leaves of the lower branches
  • papillose upper leaf cells

Closely-related genera:

  • Macrocoma
  • Orthotrichum
  • Ulota

Leiomitrium is considered most closely related to the genus Macrocoma, however more research needs to be undertaken into the phylogenetic relationships of the Orthotrichaceae family.   

Distinguishing Leiomitrium from Macrocoma

Macrocoma has:

  • Always acute leaves (compared to obtuse)
  • Smooth upper leaf cells (compared to papillose), as seen under the microscope
Distribution differences:
  • Leiomitrium is restricted to Indian Ocean islands
  • Macrocoma is more widespread, but also occurs on the Indian Ocean islands
  • Orthotrichum and Ulota can be commonly encountered in temperate regions of the world, such as Europe and North America