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Thuidium delicatulum (Hedw.) Schimp.

Delicate fern moss, fern moss

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
DivisionBryophytaMosses
SubdivisionMusciMosses (all 12,000 of them)
ClassBryopsidaMosses with arthrodontous spore capsules, which is most of them
SubclassBryidaeMosses with a double peristome with alternating tooth segments
OrderHypnalesAn order of Bryophyta or leafy mosses
FamilyThuidiaceaeA family of mosses, usually occuring in stiff, loose mats, dark green to golden brown
GenusThuidiumFrom Thuja and Latin -idium, “diminutive,” alluding to a branched habit
SpeciesdelicatulumDelicate

About plant names...

The delicate fern moss is perfectly named, reproducing the bipinnate or tripinnate structure of many ferns on a Lilliputian scale. These mosses are native to eastern North America, Alaska, Europe, the Caucasus, Siberia, Asia, Mexico, and South America.

Identification: “Fern fronds” are 1-3" (3-8 cm) in length, and adorn living and dead branches, as well as moist, shaded soil, humus, rocks, logs, or stumps. Fern moss may appear as deep green, yellow green, or orange-brown. The orange-brown coloration is not (necessarily) an indicator of poor health.

Online References:

Thuidium delicatulum at Ohio University

Thuidium delicatulum at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Thuidium delicatulum on Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Thuidium delicatulum at Mountain Moss Enterprises

Thuidium delicatulum on ZipcodeZoo.com

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

1/7/2012 · Beaver Brook Association Trails, Hollis, New Hamp­shire
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm) ID is uncertain

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/28/2020 · Jack’s and Litchfield Trails, Chase Reserve, Brunswick, Maine
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/29/2015 · Mount Grace, Athol, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 6" (14 × 15 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/31/2020 · Bowdoin Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm) ID is uncertain

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/16/2015 · Table Rock Hike, Appalacian Trail, Grafton Notch State Park
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/16/2015 · Table Rock Hike, Appalacian Trail, Grafton Notch State Park
≈ 6 × 5" (15 × 13 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, New Hamp­shire
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

12/10/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (Hedw.) Schimp. var. repens Kindb.

 

Thuidium delicatulum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Aug 2021.

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Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

9/4/2020 · Wilson’s Cove Trail, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.2 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

3/13/2016 · Gap Mountain, Troy, New Hamp­shire
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, New Hamp­shire
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 15 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/14/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, New Hamp­shire
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

12/22/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

12/10/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/15/2015 · Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, Maine
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/16/2015 · Table Rock Hike, Appalacian Trail, Grafton Notch State Park
≈ 4½ × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

(The oval leaves and red berry is partridgeberry [Mitchella repens.]) · 12/10/2011 · Groton Place and Sabine Woods, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Thuidium delicatulum (delicate fern moss, fern moss)

8/16/2015 · Table Rock Hike, Appalacian Trail, Grafton Notch State Park
≈ 6 × 6" (16 × 14 cm)

Range:

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