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Archidiaceae Schimp.

John R. Spence

Plants small to minute, perennial or ephemeral, sometimes with a persistent pale gray, green or red-brown thallose protonemal cushion attached to rhizoids. Stems simple or branched, erect or sometimes prostrate, sterile innovations usually produced from axils of distal stem leaves or perichaetial leaves, becoming prostrate, stoloniferous and persistent, giving rise to new shoots. Leaves of distal portions of stem and of perichaetia erect to spreading; base somewhat clasping; costa in cross-section with undifferentiated incrassate cells, or sometimes thin-walled larger cells above and below central incrassate cells; laminal areolation uniform to somewhat differentiated, cells elongate, mostly rectangular to rhomboidal, alar cells often differentiated, somewhat hyaline, limbidium of differentiated cells lacking. Specialized asexual reproduction rarely present as filiform uniseriate rhizoidal tubers. Sexual condition monoicous. Seta none. Capsule terminal or lateral, sessile, globose, 200--1000 µm, lacking an apiculatus, cleistocarpous. Calyptra ephemeral, falling away as capsules matures, occasionally present as a thin membrane at apex. Spores 50--320 µm in longest diameter, rarely much larger, 4--176 per capsule.

Genera 1 (1 in flora): all continents except Antarctica, in tropical to warm-temperate regions.

The family consists of a single genus, Archidium, with about 35 species, distributed worldwide in warmer regions and most diverse in Africa and Australia. Archidium is highly unusual in its sporophyte ontogeny, as the endothecium does not differentiate into a columella and an archesporial layer. The spores are massive, and can develop from any cell in the endothecium. No operculum or peristome exists (capsules are cleistocarpous) and the spores are liberated by the breakdown or tearing of the capsule wall. The genus is typically placed in its own order as the Archidiales.


Arts, T. 1990. Moniliform rhizoidal tubers in Archidium alternifolium (Hedw.) Schimp. Lindbergia 16: 59--61. Arts, T. and R.E. Magill. 1994. Rhizoidal tubers in Archidium indicum and A. yunnanense sp. nov., a new moss from China. J. Bryol. 18: 63--67. Kellman, K.M. 2003. A catalog of the mosses of Santa Cruz County, California. Madroño 50: 61--82. Snider, J. A. 1975. A revision of the genus Archidium (Musci). J. Hattori Bot. Lab. 39: 105--201. Stone, I. G. 1985. Archidium thalliferum sp. nov., with a persistent cushion-shaped protonema unique in Musci. J. Bryol. 13: 345--352.

Lower Taxon


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