Rhacocarpus purpurascens (Brid.) Paris
  • Index Bryol. Suppl. 292 1900

Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2022): Rhacocarpus purpurascens (Brid.) Paris. Published on the Internet;http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0001172454. Accessed on: 07 Aug 2022'

General Information

Plants medium-sized, in glaucous green, greenish yellow, or reddish yellow mats. Primary stems
inconspicuous, creeping, sympodially branched, leaves reduced; rhizoids rare, densely clustered at
base of sympodial branches, red, smooth, more or less unbranched. Secondary stems prominent, prostrate
or erect, irregularly branched from all sides of the stems; cross section with sclerodermis of 2–5
rows of small, red brown, thick-walled cells, cortical cells enlarged, yellow, thick-walled, central
strand absent; paraphyllia absent; pseudoparaphyllia absent; axillary hairs 2-celled, upper cell oblong
yellowish hyaline, lower cell subquadrate, red. Secondary stem and branch leaves oblong to broadly
elliptic, often panduriform, 1–2 mm long, erect to erect-spreading when dry, erect-spreading when
wet, ending in a long, yellow, red, or hyaline hair-point, decurrent; margins narrowly recurved at base,
broadly incurved above, serrulate; costa absent; cells linear-flexuose, 40–50 x 6 μm, thick-walled,
porose, densely covered by a finely papillose reticulum; marginal cells longer, narrower, smooth,
forming a distinct border; cells at the insertions smooth, linear, strongly porose, yellow to red; alar
cells extensively developed, oblong to subquadrate, extremely thick-walled, porose, smooth. Dioicous.
Perigonia gemmate, lateral on secondary stems and branches, 1–2 mm long. Perichaetia terminal,
red, 3–5 mm long; leaves erect, elongate, very long hair-pointed, cells elongate-flexuose, strongly
porose, smooth to prorate from both ends, yellow red; alar cells not differentiated. Sporophytes not
seen in Central America, description based on plants from Mexico and Colombia. Setae elongate,
dark red, 8–25 mm long, smooth below, lightly papillose below the capsule. Capsules erect, ovoid,
3 mm long, irregularly furrowed, wide-mouthed, constricted at neck; exothecial cells small, red, thickwalled
in several rows below the mouth, enlarged, irregularly long-rectangular below, moderately
firm-walled throughout; cells in neck isodiametric, extremely thick-walled, mammillose-bulging;
stomata deeply immersed on neck; opercula obliquely long-rostrate, to 2 mm long; annuli rudimentary,
reduced to a single-cell abscission layer; peristome absent. Spores tetrahedral, finely papillose
on one side, with trilete scar on opposite side, 20–28 μm. Calyptrae cucullate, reddish brown, smooth,
3–4 mm long.

  • Provided by: [D].Moss Flora of Central America
    • Source: [
    • 2
    • ]. 

    Plants up to 15 cm long, greenish-yellow to reddish. Leaves 1.3-1.5 mm long (not including the hair point), varying from narrowly oblong to rather broadly elliptic, noticeably narrowed above the large auricles (and therefore ± panduriform), ending in a long, slender, flexuose, shiny, yellowish to reddish, subentire or minutely serrulate hair point; alar cells very thick-walled and porose, the walls usually almost completely filling the lumina but sometimes the lumen relatively broad. Perichaetial leaves hair-pointed, the innermost bracts often minutely or rather distinctly notched near the base of the awn. Setae 6-20 mm long; capsules 2 mm long. Spores 23-25 µm.

  • Provided by: [C].Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden
    • Source: [
    • 3
    • ]. 

    Diagnostic Description

    This magnificent moss is easily recognized by its distinctive coloration, densely granulate cell ornamentation and pronounced alar regions. The variations expressed by the plants, i.e. apex angle and hair-point development, width of smooth-celled leaf border, branching pattern and plant size, do not seem to be correlated. However, subspecific names may be required when the species is examined on a worldwide basis. For example, the leaf apex is quite variable in southern Africa. It can be abruptly acuminate with a rather broad acumen filled with thickened and pitted laminal cells, or narrow and extending out into a short or long awn. The fertile specimens were either too young or too old and missing the capsule, and therefore spores were not found. They have been described elsewhere as 20-22 µm in diameter and finely papillose.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 1
    • ]. 


    Plants medium to large, forming large, loose tufts, yellow-green to grey-green, frequently tinged with red, yellow at apex, brown to black below; saxicolous or terricolous. Stems creeping, to 100 mm long, branches numerous; in section round, central strand absent, inner cortical cells large, hyaline, in 3-5 rows; outer cortical cells smaller, red-yellow, thick-walled, in 2 or 3 rows, axillary hairs few, 2 or 3 cells long, basal cells brown; pseudoparaphyllia absent. Leaves evenly spaced, widespreading wet, appressed with reflexed tips dry; stem leaves ovate to oblong, 1.5-2.0 mm long; acute to acuminate; apex frequently hair-pointed, awn reddish, weakly narrowed to insertion; margins recurved and reddish below, plane to broadly inflexed above, serrulate above, faintly bordered; ecostate. Upper laminal cells fusiform, somewhat sigmoid, heterogeneous, 12-75 µm long, 6-12 µm wide, walls incrassate and pitted, densely granulate on both surfaces, border cells in 2-16 rows, narrower and smooth, thicker in section; basal cells somewhat longer but not strongly differentiated, 60-100 µm long, 8-12 µm wide, greenish yellow, reddish across insertion, walls incrassate and pitted, densely granulate; alar cells strongly differentiated and forming distinct groups, quadrate to short rectangular, reddish, smooth, thin-walled. Perigonial leaves ovate-acute, 1 mm long. Perichaetial leaves oblong-acuminate, imbricate, 2.5-3.0 mm long, margins weakly serrulate; leaf cells rectangular, incrassate and pitted. Seta 6 mm long, yellow-brown, smooth. Capsule exserted, erect, ellipsoid, 2 mm long, weakly ribbed, yellow-brown, gymnostomous; neck shorter than urn; exothecial cells rounded to quadrate, walls thin, cells at mouth quadrate to transversely short-rectangular, neck cells smaller, quadrate, thickened; stomata on neck, numerous, phaneropore. Operculum conic-rostrate, beak curved, 0.5 mm long. Calyptra cucullate, reddish, 1 mm long, smooth. Spores not seen.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 1
    • ]. 


    The species is found in mountains on wet rock or soil, frequently associated with Sphagnum L.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 1
    • ]. 


    Rhacocarpus purpurascens is found in Central and South America, the West Indies, eastern and southern Africa, the East African islands, Australia and New Zealand and some southern temperate and subantarctic islands. In southern Africa the plants are rather restricted in distribution. The species is found in mountains of the northern and eastern Transvaal regions, Lesotho and the southern and southwestern Cape.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 1
    • ]. 


     Information From

    Bryophytes. Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts. World Flora Online Data. 2022.
    • A CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    e-Flora of South Africa
    e-Flora of South Africa. v1.21. 2018. South African National Biodiversity Institute. http://ipt.sanbi.org.za/iptsanbi/resource?r=flora_descriptions&v=1.21
    • B All Rights Reserved
    Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden
    Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
    • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
    Moss Flora of Central America
    Moss Flora of Central America. Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed on Jun. 2020.
    • D Missouri Botanical Garden
    World Flora Online Consortium
    World Flora Online Data. 2017.
    • E CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).