Polytrichum Juniperinum

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Moss, Pacific Northwest

Polytrichum Juniperinum, BC Coastal Region
Polytrichum Juniperum, Photo By Bud Logan

Polytrichum Juniperinum is also known as juniper hair cap moss, it is a medium sized Polytrichum, that forms over large areas. It pushes up erect shoots that are about 3 to 4 cm tall, with leaves that reach about 1 cm long. The reddish stems are clothed with evenly spaced, light green leaves with un-toothed edges and a distinctive red tip.

When dry, the leaves are strongly rolled, and the leaves are slightly flexed and pressed closely to the stem, the whole shoot becomes sharply pointed and slightly covered with a bluish waxy, powdery bloom.

In the spring, the male plants are very eye catching, with bright, red leaves with small flowers at the ends of the shoots.

It is abundant in well drained habitats, especially in lowland areas. Favorite habitats include dry, grassy meadows, rock quarries and forest settings. It grows all over the BC coast and the Pacific Northwest.

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