Diphysciaceae M. Fleischer
Authors: W. B. Schofield
Plants perennial, medium-sized, 0.5--1 cm, forming dense turf, with rhizoids often firmly compacting their mineral substratum, dark to dull green; protonema producing funnel-like flaps (rarely discernible in most specimens). Stem short, erect, usually simple 0.5-2 mm. Leaves proximally reduced, crowded, often crisped when dry, sometimes radially inrolled, spreading when moist, lingulate or lingulate-subulate, rounded-obtuse to acute, mainly entire; costa single, strong, lamina mostly 2(--3)-stratose from costa to near margins, cells rounded-quadrate to rounded-hexagonal, thick-walled, plane, mammillose or papillose on one or both surfaces; cells at or near base 1-stratose, hyaline, smooth, rectangular or oblong-hexagonal. Sexual condition autoicous or dioicous. Interior perichaetial leaves usually longer than the exterior leaves, erect, often scarious, ovate-lanceolate, lance-subulate to linear, generally lacerate or ciliate at apex and awned by the long-excurrent costa, brown and mainly without chlorophyll when mature. Perigonial shoots consisting of few, short-lingulate leaves enclosing paraphyses and few antheridia; paraphyses filamentous. Seta very short, smooth, lacking central strand, Capsule obliquely oriented, nearly completely enveloped by perichaetial leaves, asymmetric, ovoid, at the base often strongly bulging on upper side, narrowed to a conic operculum and narrow mouth, annulus present, lacking a neck, stomata phaneropore in 2 rows near base or absent; peristome double or sometimes absent, with a white densely papillose endostome of 16 pleats, somewhat twisted when dry and toothed at apex of each of the keels, exostomial teeth rudimentary, fewer in number than the pleats. Calyptra smooth, covering operculum.
Genera 3 (1 in flora): North America, West Indies, South America, Europe, Asia, Pacfic Islands, Australia.
The family's three genera are Diphyscium of ca 12 species, Theriotia Cardot of two species in S.E. Asia, and Muscoflorschuetzia Crosby with one species in Chile. The three were recently merged (Magombo 2003) into a single genus, Diphyscium, with 15 species.