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Published In: Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Botany 4: 97. 1859. (J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/29/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 10/8/2017)
Plant Category: Mosses
General Reference:

Notes     (Last Modified On 10/8/2017)
Polytrichadelphus is stated to contain 25 species, probably less than 10. The genus is largely confined to the Southern Hemisphere. In the Neotropics about 5-7 species. Open premontane to páramo and puna in the tropical Andes; in exposed sites particularly on slopes, on soil, soil covered rocks. A distinguishing feature of this genus is the orange or reddish-orange spot found on the distal sheathing base. The genus is considered to be diverse in the northern Andes, an area of "secondary evolution" (Smith, 1971, see family reference); however given the variability and polymorphism within and adjoining populations, this diversity is more applicable to the numerous named species rather than actual taxa. At least some of the taxa exhibit gametophytic variation in stature as found in Pogonatum campylocarpon and Polytrichum juniperinum. There are a few collections from Colombia of a very small stature (ca. 1 cm) that may represent a new species. The majority of species listed here can be categorized as “Status Unknown.” Polytrichadelphus is the most notable genus in the family requiring a critical revision. At present Denilson Peralta is preparing a treatment of the genus.
Se afirma que Polytrichadelphus contiene 25 especies, probablemente 10 o menos, confinadas al hemisferio sur; posiblemente cinco especies en el Neotrópico. El género requiere una revisión minuciosa.
Status unknown:
Polytrichadelphus abriaquiae (Müll. Hal.) A. Jaeger, Ber. Thätigk. St. Gallischen Naturwiss Ges. 1877-78: 453. 1880. Catharinea abriaquiae Müll. Hal., Flora 58: 534. 1875. Type: Colombia. Antioquia, Abriaqui, 8000 ped., 1874, Wallis s.n. (BM).
Polytrichadelphus cuspidirostrum (Schimp.) Broth., Nat. Pflanzenfam. 1(3): 683. 1905. Polytrichum cuspidirostrum Schimp. ex Müll. Hal., Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital. n. s. 4: 16. 1897. Syntypes: Bolivia. Sin. loc., 1885, Mandon s.n.; Cochabamba, prope Choquecamata, Junio 1889, Germain.
Polytrichadelphus grossidens Müll. Hal. ex E. Britton, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 23: 489. 1896. Catharinea grossidens (Müll. Hal. ex E. Britton) Müll. Hal., Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital. n.s. 4: 13. 1897. Type: Bolivia. Near Yungas, 4000-6000 ft. 1885, Rusby 3159.
Polytrichadelphus integrifolius Müll. Hal. ex E. Britton, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 23: 490. 1896. Catharinea integrifolia (Müll. Hal. ex E. Britton) Müll. Hal., Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital. n. s. 4: 14. 1897. Type: Bolivia. Unduavi, 10000 ft., Oct 1885, Rusby 3159a.
Polytrichadelphus magellanicus (Hedw.) Mitt., J. Proc. Linn. Soc. 4: 97. 1859. Polytrichum magellanicum Hedw., Sp. Musc. Frond. 101. 20. f. 1-2. 1801. Type: Fretum Magellanicum. Report for the tropical Andes questionable.
Polytrichadelphus mitis Herzog, Hedwigia 67: 267. 1927. Type: Bolivia. Hacienda Simaco, am Weg nach Tipuani, ca. 1400 m, 1920, Buchtien.
Polytrichadelphus peruvianus Broth., Hedwigia 45: 275. 1906. Type: Peru. Rio Huallaga, an Felsen des Cerro de Escalero, 1400 m, Ule 2356.
Polytrichadelphus pseudopolytrichum (Raddi) G. L. Sm., Bryologist 79: 521. 1976 [1977]. Catharinea pseudopolytrichum Raddi, Mem. Mat. Fis. Soc. Ital. Sci. Modena, Pt. Mem. Fis. 18: 343. pl. 4: f. 3. 1821. Type: ?
Polytrichadelphus juniperaceus Müll. Hal., Gen. Musc. Frond. 168. 1900. Type: ?
Polytrichadelphus rubescens (Mitt.) G. L. Sm., Phytologia 18: 403. 1969. Polytrichum rubescens Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 622. 1869. Type: Ecuador. Andes Quitenses, Jameson.
Polytrichadelphus rubiginosus Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 610. 1869. Syntypes: Colombia. Antioquia, Jervis; Peru, Ruiz et Pavon; Huanaco provincia supra saxa, Herb. Hook. Andes Novo-Granatenses, in collibus prope Bogota (9600 ped.), Weir 211.
Polytrichadelphus rubiginosus var. patulidens Broth., Bot. Jahrb. Syst.56 (Beibl. 123): 22. 1920. Type: Peru. Prov. Tasma, Dep. Junin, Berge westlich von Huacapistana, Steppe mit eingesprengien Sträuchern, auf Erdblößen, 3400-3500 m, Weberbauer 2211.
Polytrichadelphus subrubescens (Thér.) G L. Sm., Phytologia 18: 403. 1969. Polytrichum subrubescens Thér., Rev. Bryol. Lichénol. 9: 6. f. 1. 1936. Type: Ecuador. Environs de Quito, 2800 m, Benoist 4658.
Polytrichadelphus trianae (Müll. Hal.) Mitt. f. cuspidata Herzog, Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 27: 357. 1910. Type: Bolivia. Unduavi, 3300 m, Dezember 1907, leg. O. Buchtien.
Polytrichadelphus umbrosus Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 610. 1869. Type: Chile. Chili, San Gavan, in umbrosis ad terram, Lechler 2205 (NY). Reported for Bolivia and Peru.
Polytrichadelphus valenciae (Müll. Hal.) Paris, Index Bryol. 994. 1879. Catharinea valenciae Müll. Hal., Linnaea 42: 468. 1879. Type: Venezuela. 1855, Fendler 73.


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Plants mostly medium sized to very large and robust, solitary to forming loose or dense tufts, dark green to mostly rusty-red or deep, dark red or blackish-brown. Stems simple or few branched by innovations, 3-30 cm tall; central strand well developed. Leaves erect to appressed when dry, erect-to wide-spreading when wet, differentiated with a basal oblong(ovate-oblong) to obovate-oblong sheath, reddish-orange semi-circle extending down 1/3-1/2 from the base-limb junction, limb narrowly to broadly ligulate-lanceolate, apex acute to acuminate, sheathing base concave and clasping; margins of sheathing base entire, limb plane to more commonly erect or incurved, serrate, blunt so at time, to spinose or ciliate; costae single, above sheath base expanding and extending across limb, back distally smooth to roughened by short projecting papillae or strongly toothed; sheathing base cells long and narrowly rectangular; junction between sheath and limb with strongly compressed oblate oblong-rectangular; lamellae extending across limb, ca. 8 cells high, terminal cell pear-shaped, smooth. Dioicous. Setae elongate, 15-85 mm long, stout, smooth. Capsules suberect to inclined, urn2-angled, 2.5-5.5 mm long; opercula long rostrate from a plano-convex base; peristome single, teeth 64, attached to an oval or round epiphragm. Calyptrae cucullate, naked (occasionally fringed with paraphyses). Spores appearing lightly papillose.


Plantas generalmente medianas hasta muy grandes y robustas, solitarias hasta formando manojos laxos o densos, verde oscuras hasta generalmente rojo-ferrujinosas o rojo intenso, rojo oscuro o pardo-negruzcas. Tallos simples o poco ramificado por innovaciones, 3-30 cm de alto; cordón central bien desarrollada. Hojas erectas hasta adpresas en seco, erectas hasta ampliamente extendidas en húmedo, diferenciadas con una vaina basal oblonga (ovado-oblonga) hasta vaina obovada-oblonga, semi-circulo naranja-rojizo extendiéndose 1/3-1/2 inferior desde la unión base-limbo, limbo angostamente hasta ampliamente ligulado-lanceolada, ápices agudos hasta acuminados, base envainadora cóncava y amplectante; márgenes de la base envainadora enteros, márgenes del limbo planos hasta más comúnmente erectos o incurvados, serrados, ocasionalmente obtusos romos?, hasta espinosos o ciliados; costa simple, expandiéndose encima de la base de la vaina y extendiéndose a través del limbo, envés distalmente liso hasta rugoso por proyecciones de papilas cortas o marcadamente dentado; células de la base envainadora largas y angostamente rectangulares; unión de la vaina y el limbo con células marcadamente comprimidas oblatas oblongo-rectangulares; lamelas extendiéndose a través del limbo, ca. 8 células de alto, célula terminal piriforme, lisa. Dioicas. Setas alargadas, 15-85 mm de largo, robustas y lisas. Cápsulas suberectas hasta inclinadas, urna con 2 ángulos, 2.5-5.5 mm de largo; opérculo largo-rostrado desde una base plano-convexa; peristoma simple, con 64 dientes, adheridos a un epifragma oval o redondeado. Caliptra cuculada, desnuda (ocasionalmente flecada con parafisos). Esporas de apariencia finamente papilosa.


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Keys semi-functional…
1. Leaf margins ciliate, cilia hyaline or whitish … P. ciliatus
1. Leaf margins serrate to appearing entire, not ciliate … 2.
2. Plants very robust, back surface of limb strongly toothed … P. giganteus & P. purpureus
2. Plants slender, back surface of leaf limb entire or weakly spinose … 3.
3. Leaf margins appearing smooth, apices rather blunt to very short-aristate; setae up to 8 cm long … P. longisetus
3. Leaf margins when dry with distinct teeth, either toothed on back or long aristate; setae often 4 cm long or less … 4.
4. Leaf apices not aristate … P. valenciae
4. Leaf apices short to long-aristate … P. aristatus
1. Márgenes foliares ciliados … P. ciliatus
1. Márgenes foliares aserrados a aparentemente enteros … 2.
2. Plantas muy robustas, superficie dorsal del limbo fuertemente dentada … P. giganteus & P. purpureus
2. Plantas delgadas, superficie del limbo foliar entera o levemente espinosa … 3.
3. Márgenes foliares aparentemente lisos, ápices algo obtusos a muy corto-aristados; setas hasta 8 cm de largo … P. longisetus
3. Márgenes foliares en seco con dientes distinguibles, dentados en el dorso o largo aristados; setas 4 cm de largo o menos … 4.
4. Apices foliares no aristados … P. valenciae
4. Apices foliares corto a largo-aristados … P. aristatus
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