Tortula muralis

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Tortula muralis

Post by MWP admin » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:29 am

I was studying a specimen found on limestone rock in a shaded and rather damp habitat. Photos attached. The keys led me to Timmiella barbuloides but I am not 100% sure because the leaves look a bit different - the specimen have smaller ligulate leaves rather than acute as I have seen on some images on the net ( assuming that those were correctly identified).

Here are some specs:

Leaves very short 2mm with very long costa
Upper part of leaves bistratose
Basal part of leaf unistratose, hyaline, with a V-shaped patern raising along margins
Capsule 3-4mm long, erect to slightly inclined dehiscent with an opercule
Annulus very thin (sometimes pale brown)
Cells isodiametric (few just a bit elongated)

I hope you can spare few mins to have a look. You can use these photos freely in your work/presentations.

Best regards
Stephen
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Last edited by MWP admin on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by valerandi » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:34 am

Glad to see someone else getting interested in mosses. Your plant is definitely Tortula muralis. The leaf shape, recurved edges and long hyaline costa are very characteristic. There is a variety of T . muralis called aestiva with a shorter costa but is not as common.

Timmiella is a much larger plant. The sporophyte is very long. The leaf blade has two layers of cells which you would see when focusing up and down.

If you like we can do a bryological outing but not to Maqluba. I went a couple of weeks ago with a climber friend and still found it difficult to get out again! I'm not the same as I was 10 years ago. Any interesting valley you have in mind just let me know. Preferably on a Sunday.

NB Bryum intermedium var subcylindricum was recorded just once from W. Qleigha. B. intermedium is a mountainous species unlikely to grow in Malta. I consider this record as doubtful.

Bryum caespiticum (today Ptychostomum imbricatulum) is quite common in garigue. It forms thick rounded cushions, bright green but if you cut one cushion open the stems are mostly reddish and tightly meshed together.

all the best
Stephan

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Post by MWP admin » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:00 pm

Thanks for replying Val... yes I am fairly exploring the regime of mosses, but I often end up with a wrong ID as in this example here. I went to do my homework to see were I went wrong, and eventually the culprit was in the main key to distinguish Timmiaceae from Pottiaceae.

Also in your own words, the former is unistratose and the latter bistratose at the upper half, and so it was a careless mistake of mine becasue I could see that the specimen is bi (or multi-?) stratose (as I wrote in the specs) but I took the wrong key.

Apart, the keys often refer to the presence of lamella on the surface of the lamina (or costa). I wonder what are these and how they look like. Are they some kind of projections, and do they need some special microcopy technique to observe them ?

I'll reply later regards the Bryum intermedium with some pics, 99.9999% is B. caespiticum - my keys distinguished the two from how thick/prominent the margin was (if I remeber well), and I could not really decide. As I said I will post this on an own topic.
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Post by valerandi » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:50 pm

Don't worry about mistakes - I've been studying mosses since 1999 and still need help or confirmation with many of them!

Please note that Tortula muralis has a single layer of cells in its lamina (leaf minus nerve). What you are seeing in the distal part (the half near the tip) are cells with papillae, which are small outgrowths of the cell surfaces, making the cells opaque and a darker green. you can actually see these in your photo. A cross section would show them better.

The term lamellae depends on where you use it. If it is due to lamellae on the leaves, I have only come across these when looking at leaves of Polytrichum species from Italy and Germany. They are thickenings on the surface of the leaf and make the leaf almost completely opaque. It can also be used in describing structures on the sporophytes of Bryum species.

Papillae are more important for you to become familiar with as many of the Maltese species have these on the leaf surface. They are found in many arid climate mosses.

BTW your micro-photographs are excellent. What microscope and camera are you using?

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Thanks for the lecturing

Post by MWP admin » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:34 am

Once again, thank you for your time and information.

I still have to munch a lot, but if lamella are almost never found in Maltese mosses, than that's one headache less. I am in doubt now, but I think I have seen 2 layers of cells when focusing up/down in the distal part of the lamina of the tortula specimen, concuring with the key Timmiaceae (unistratose) vs Pottiaceae (bistratose). Possibly there are 2 layers and the papillae (which I try to seek some images on the net of cross sections).

I have a standard light microscope and a Canon A650

tnx
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Post by valerandi » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:18 pm

I think the key you are using misled you.

I'll try to clear it up;

1) The family Pottiaceae (which by the way constitute over 50% of the mosses in Malta) has both unistratose and multistratose leaved species.
2) Timmiella barbuloides is in the Pottiaceae not Timmiaceae (we don't have any of the latter). It has a bistratose leaf.
3) Tortula muralis is also in the Pottiaceae but is unistratose. Some other species of Tortula have a pad of adaxial cells but not this one.
4) What you are probably thinking are cells are papillae. Note http://www.botany.ubc.ca/bryophyte/sem/ ... llae1.html
5)The following describes T. muralis very well. Look at the photo of papillae; http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag//ar ... cmoss.html
6) The edges of the leaf are recurved meaning that you will see two layers of cells if you focus here.

I strongly suggest following the key in 'Handbook of Mosses in the Iberian Peninsula' which covers all Maltese mosses, both recorded and ones still being found.

Hope I have helped

best wishes

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Post by MWP admin » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:48 pm

I have on my book that Timmiaceae leaves are unistratose at upper part, cells quadrate, smooth or with scattered papillae, while for Pottiaceae, upper leaf margins entire, leaf cells densely papillose or bistratose.

So the opaque part of the leaf could be because of the papillae or double-layered cells, and for this particular species, that's becasue of the dense papillae.
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