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Published In: Prodrome des Cinquième et Sixième Familles de l'Aethéogamie 36–37, 87. 1805. (Prodr. Aethéogam.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 2/25/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project data     (Last Modified On 2/25/2011)

Racopilum has creeping stems with strongly dimorphic leaves. Although dimorphic leaves are found in a few other mosses, those of Racopilum are unusual in having two small dorsal rows of leaves. Racopilum exhibits strong polarity; its smaller leaves always appear from the dorsal surface, the branches from the lateral surfaces and the rhizoids from the substrate side of the stem.

Racopilum is a true pleurocarpous moss. This is seen not only in its monopodial growth form and lateral perichaetia but also in its rhizoids. In a manner typically found in the Hypnaceae (see Hedenäs 1987, Koponen 1988) the rhizoids come from a meristematic area immediately below the abaxial line of the leaf insertion. Unlike most pleurocarpous mosses they are intricately branched (however, this is also seen in Adelothecium and some Daltoniaceae).


Buck and Vitt (1986) in placing Racopilum in the Bryales considered it different from true pleurocarpous mosses in having naked, flat branch buds and borderd leaves. I consider, however,  the branch primordia in Racopilum the same as those seen in some members of the Hookeriaceae or Daltoniaceae (see Whittemore & Allen 1989). Buck and Goffinet (2000) placed the Racopilaceae in the Rhizogoniales.


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Racopilum P.‑Beauv., Prodr. Aethéogam. 36. 1805. 

Medium to robust plants in dark green mats. Stems creeping, irregularly branched, moderately to densely reddish‑brown tomentose, central strand present. Leaves dimorphic; lateral leaves wide‑spreading and complanate in 2 rows, inrolled contorted when dry, ovate to oblong‑ovate, asymmetric, aristate; margins plane, unbordered, entire, serrulate to serrate or dentate; costa excurrent; cells rhombic to widely‑oblong, thick‑walled, smooth or unipapillose; dorsal leaves in two rows, erect to appressed, smaller, lanceolate to triangular, acuminate, aristate. Dioicous, autoicous, or synoicous. Setae elongate. Capsules exserted, erect to horizontal, cylindrical, symmetric or asymmetric, furrowed or smooth when dry; stomata superficial; opercula long‑rostrate; peristome double, exostome of 16 lanceolate teeth, cross‑striolate below, papillose above, endostome basal membrane high or low, segments narrow and fugacious or broad and widely perforate, cilia none or 2–4. Calyptrae sparsely hairy, cucullate.


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