Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Polytrichum piliferum
Family: Polytrichaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1

Dry, sterile, sandy or gravelly soil or rocks in exposed places, often at roadsides or in old fields.

Species Description:


Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
A low-growing (usually about 4 cm or less) species that forms open patches. Shoots have a characteristic shape, the short leaves being densely clustered at the shoot tip, leaving the reddish stem somewhat bare below. The greyish-green leaves are about 3 mm long, and the tip is drawn out to a long, white hair point, most noticeable on dry shoots when several tips project above the rigid, appressed leaves as a terminal brush. Each leaf has untoothed, incurved margins that partly hide longitudinal ridges of tissue on the upper surface. As with P. juniperinum, the male shoots in spring are particularly conspicuous owing to the highly coloured, modified leaves that form a deep reddish, terminal "flower" (bottom right photograph). The inclined, 4- to 5-angled capsules, commonly produced in summer, are borne on a 1-3 cm long, reddish seta.


Global Range:

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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