font settings and languages

Font Size: Large | Normal | Small
Font Face: Verdana | Geneva | Georgia

Funaria hygrometrica

(Funaria Moss)


[ Back to top ]

Common Names

[ Back to top ]

Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in Danish:

Almindelig Snobørste

Common Names in Dutch:

gewoon krulmos, Krulmos

Common Names in English:

Funaria Moss

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

funaire hygrométrique

Common Names in German:

Wetteranzeigendes Drehmoos

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Swedish:



[ Back to top ]

Family Funariaceae

Plants minute to medium-sized, gregarious to forming open tufts, light- to yellow-green, annual to biennial. Stems short, erect , simple or with a few branches, central strand present, basal rhizoids few. Leaves usually larger and more crowded distally, often comose , reduced proximally, usually contorted when dry, spreading when wet, broadly elliptic to obovate , usually concave , margins plane to somewhat incurved , entire to serrate, sometimes limbate, apex acute to acuminate, rarely somewhat blunt , costa single, percurrent to excurrent; distal and median cells usually irregular-rhombic to hexagonal or rectangular, smooth and rather thin-walled, often lax , weakly chlorophyllose, proximal cells usually longer , oblong to rectangular, sometimes weakly inflated at proximal angles, differentiated alar cells absent. Specialized asexual reproduction absent. Sexual condition autoicous , sometimes polygamous, rarely synoicous or paroicous . Perigonia terminal on short basal branches, bud-like, paraphyses yellowish and club-shaped. Perichaetia terminal, paraphyses usually absent and filiform when present, perichaetial leaves often somewhat enlarged. Seta terminal, solitary, short to elongate , erect to somewhat curved , smooth or rarely papillose . Capsule stegocarpous or cleistocarpous , immersed to exserted, globose or pyriform to cupulate , sometimes flaring , symmetric and nearly smooth to asymmetric and striate when dry, usually with a neck; exothecial cells thick- to thin-walled; stomata restricted to neck, consisting of a slit in a rounded guard cell, superficial or immersed, annulus present or absent, revoluble , revoluble in fragments, or not; operculum present or absent, flat, conic-rounded, to rostrate ; peristome double , single, rudimentary , or absent, exostome teeth 16, erect to incurved, papillose-striolate or striate, trabeculate on adaxial surface, endostome segments 16 and opposite the exostome teeth, cilia absent, represented only by the exostome when single. Calyptra deciduous or persistent , mitrate to cucullate , smooth, usually long-rostrate and inflated towards the base . Spores spherical or sub-reniform, strongly ornamented to smooth.

Genera ca. 13, species ca. 300 (6 genera, 29 species in the flora ) : worldwide except Antarctica.

The Funariaceae is characterized by broad leaves, large, pale laminal cells, opposite peristomes, and the distinctive stomata. The majority of species are found in disturbed or open sites on bare soil. Many of the species are annuals or biennials, and some may be perennials . When sterile , only a few species have distinctive vegetative features that allow positive identification to genus or species level. Fortunately most are usually fertile and sporophytes are common, although seasonal.[1]

Genus Funaria

Plants small to medium-sized, gregarious or tufted , bright green to yellowish green. Stems short, erect , simple except for a short basal antheridial branch . Leaves larger and erect distally, reduced proximally, oblong-ovate to broadly obovate distally; concave ; apex usually acute or acuminate margins erect, entire to serrate beyond middle ; costa single, ending before the tip to excurrent; distal and medial laminal cells large, rhombic-hexagonal to rectangular, lax and rather thin-walled, proximal cells oblong-rectangular, differentiated alar cells absent. Sexual condition autoicous ; antheridial branches 1-2, basal, perigonial paraphyses clavate with an enlarged inflated cell; perichaetia apparently absent paraphyses. Seta elongate , erect to strongly curved or twisted. Capsule exserted, usually inclined to pendent, asymmetric and usually curved, yellow to brown, pyriform , often sulcate or plicate when dry and empty, annulus large and revoluble or not differentiated, exothecial cells oblong-hexagonal to linear , walls incrassate especially so on inner tangential wall, stomata immersed ; peristome double , inserted somewhat below the mouth , teeth well developed, obliquely directed, lance-acuminate, papillose-striate, often strongly trabeculate , frequently appendiculate at the tips and fusing with a latticed disk, endostome segments opposite the teeth, 1/6 or more the length of the teeth, papillose or weakly papillose-striate with a basal membrane and cilia absent. Operculum usually oblique to the axis of the capsule, convex to weakly conic, cells in obliquely radial rows . Calyptra large, cucullate , usually smooth , and often long-rostrate. Spores spherical , smooth or papillose to baccate-insulate.

Species ca. 200: North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia (including Indonesia), Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia.

Funaria comprises mainly small to medium seasonal mosses growing on moist mineral or peaty soils in strong light. For the most part, they are relatively short-lived pioneer species adapted to complete the life cycle by producing many spores quickly, in a cool, moist, bright (but not sunny for long periods), exposed, disturbed habitat . In North America, the best time to look for members of the family is spring before the soil dries out. The most common species can be recognized by the production of large numbers of sporophytes bearing a double peristome with inner and outer teeth opposite rather than alternate as is typical for most mosses. The teeth tend to be torqued in one direction with the tips of the exostome adhering weakly to a few-celled disk. Because the sporophyte shows more morphologic diversity than the gametophyte, it is often essential for identification. H. A. Crum and L. E. Anderson (1981) discussed the indistinct generic limits between Funaria and Entosthodon and the application of generic names .[2]

Physical Description

Species Funaria hygrometrica

Plants 4-10 or more mm, with a basal antheridial branch , medium green to yellowish green; leafless proximally with leaves crowded and bulbiform distally, sometimes laxly foliate throughout. Leaves smaller proximally, distal leaves 2-4 mm, deeply concave , oblong-ovate to broadly obovate distally, acute to apiculate or short-acuminate, entire or weakly serrulate distally; costa subpercurrent to short-excurrent; distal laminal cells thin-walled and inflated , hexagonal or oblong-hexagonal becoming much more oblong proximally. Seta usually (12-) 20-45(-80) mm, slender and flexuose, usually hygroscopic . Capsule 2-3.5 mm, pyriform , asymmetric , curved to straight, horizontal to pendent or merely inclined or nearly erect , becoming sulcate when dry below the strongly oblique mouth ; annulus revoluble , operculum slightly convex ; peristome brown, papillose-striate proximally and papillose distally, strongly trabeculate , becoming appendiculate distally, forming a lattice by fusion of the tips ; endostome segments lanceolate about 2/3 as long as the teeth, yellowish, finely papillose-striate. Calyptra cucullate , smooth . Spores mostly 12-21 µm, finely papillose. [source]

Funaria hygrometrica is one of the most common, weedy, and widely distributed mosses in the world; its distribution closely parallels that of Bryum argenteum. It is widely illustrated in textbooks to demonstrate the life cycle of a typical moss, possibly because of the abundant conspicuous sporophytes produced and its frequent presence in greenhouses. However, the peristome with opposite, instead of alternate, teeth in the two peristome rows is clearly atypical among the majority of mosses. Most of the varieties that have been described probably do not merit recognition because of the morphological plasticity of the species in response to environmental conditions. [source]

Habit: Nonvascular


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 4,701 meters (0 to 15,423 feet).[3]


[ Back to top ]


Entosthodon plagiostomus (C. Müller) Sim • Funaria androgyna Bridel • Funaria angustifolia Bridel • Funaria calvescens Schwaegrichen • Funaria campylopus Bridel • Funaria connivens C. Müller • Funaria globicarpa C. Müller • Funaria gracilescens W. P. Schimper Ex C. Müller • Funaria lonchopelma C. Müller • Funaria marginata Kindberg • Funaria megapoda C. Müller • Funaria papillata Hampe • Funaria plagiostoma C. Müller • Funaria ramificans Bridel • Funaria sphaerocarpa C. Müller • Tayloria henryae Dixon


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 19-Jul-2004

Similar Species

[ Back to top ]

Members of the genus Funaria

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 11 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

F. americana (American Funaria Moss) · F. apiculatopilosa (Apiculate Funaria Moss) · F. arctica (Arctic Funaria Moss) · F. calvescens (Funaria Moss) · F. flavicans (Funaria Moss) · F. groutiana (Funaria Moss) · F. hygrometrica (Funaria Moss) · F. microstoma (Funaria Moss) · F. muhlenbergii (Muhlenberg's Funaria Moss) · F. polaris (Northern Funaria Moss) · F. serrata (Serrate Funaria Moss)

More Info

[ Back to top ]

Further Reading

[ Back to top ]


[ Back to top ]


Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 27, 2008:



  1. Terry T. McIntosh "Funariaceae". in Flora of North America Vol. 27 Page 180, 195, 199. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. Donna H. Miller, Harvey A. Miller "Funaria". in Flora of North America Vol. 27 Page 10, 11, 12, 13, 181, 188, 189, 192, 193, 203. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 254.850 meters (836.122 feet), Standard Deviation = 469.100 based on 66,308 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-21