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Published In: Die Laubmoose Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz 1: 520. 1888. (Laubm. Deutschl.) Name publication detail
 

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Discussion:

Tortella stems have a hyalodermis and often a central strand. Its leaves are usually narrow,  erect at base, incurved-contorted above when dry and have plane to erect margins. The upper and basal leaf cells are distinctly different with the basal leaf cells usually thin-walled and running up the basal margins in a v-shaped pattern. The costa in Tortella is usually short-excurrent into a smooth mucro, has two well-developed stereid bands, and ventrally enlarged surface cells. Although the peristome in Tortella typically consists of 32, long, linear, twisted teeth from a high basal membrane, there are eperistomate as well as cleistocarpous species in the genus.

Pseudosymblepharis and  Trichostomum are similar to Tortella in having leaves with distinctly different upper and basal leaf cells in which the basal cells run up the margins in a v-shaped pattern. Pseudosymblepharis generally has longer, narrower, more strongly clasping leaves than those of Tortella and a peristome of 16, short, erect teeth on a weakly developed basal membrane. The gametophytic distinctions between Tortella and Pseudosymblepharis, however, are not strong, and as noted above there are eperistomate and cleistocarpous species of Tortella. Trichostomum has a peristome similar to that of Pseudosymblepharis and otherwise differs from Tortella only in having a more weakly developed basal leaf border of hyaline cells that run up the margins in a v-shaped pattern. Zander (1993) suggested these three genera may represent a single genus.

 The nomenclature surrounding the name Tortella is complex. Tortella (from 1888) has been conserved against Pleurochaete (from 1864) when the two genera are merged. The name was first used by Müller (1849) as Barbula section Tortella. Limpricht (1888) elevated this section to the generic level, however, Müller’s section Tortella is illegitimate as it included the type of an earlier section (i.e., sect. Tortuosae B.S.G., 1842). Lindberg (1879) transferred Müller’s section to the genus Mollia and even though Lindberg’s use of the name was also based on Müller’s illegitimate Tortella, the name is treated as a new name under Art. 58.1 of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Greuter et al. 2000).


 

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Tortella (Lindb.) Limpr., Laubm Deutschl. 1: 599. 1888, nom. cons.

Mollia subg. Tortella Lindb., Musci. Scand. 21. 1879. 

Plants small to medium-sized, yellow-green to green or dark-green above, brown, in loose  tufts or cushions. Stems erect, sparsely and irregularly branched; hyalodermis present, central strand present or absent, rhizoids reddish brown, radiculose. Leaves ligulate to long-lanceolate, erect at base, appressed, erect or incurved, often twisted and contorted when dry, erect-spreading to spreading when wet; apices subulate, narrowly or broadly acute, at times rounded or cucullate; laminae unistratose, occasionally bistratose, at times fragile and broken above; margins entire, weakly crenulate by projecting papillae, at times dentate above, plane, erect, or incurved above; costa subpercurrent, percurrent or weakly excurrent as a short mucro, guide cells and two stereid bands present, ventral surface layer of enlarged cells; upper cells quadrate to hexagonal, firm-walled, pluripapillose, basal cells differentiated, enlarged, rectangular, walls thin or firm, at times porose, bulging, or long-rectangular to linear, hyaline, usually smooth, outer cells running up the margins farther than the interior cells forming a v-shaped pattern, alar cells not differentiated. Asexual reproduction by fragile leaf apices or lamina. Dioicous or autoicous; perichaetia terminal. Setae elongate, smooth. Capsules cylindrical or elliptical; stomata in neck; opercula long-conic to rostrate; annuli well-developed or rudimentary and non-functional; peristome of 32, linear, spiculose, counter-clockwise twisted teeth, rarely absent, basal membrane low or absent, or capsules cleistocarpous. Calyptrae cucullate.

 

 
 
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