Leiomitrium plicatum is a very distinctive species. It is distinguished from other members of the Orthotrichaceae family by the combination of:
- a creeping habit
- obtuse leaves of the lower branches
- papillose upper leaf cells
Distinguishing Leiomitrium from Macrocoma
- Always acute leaves (compared to obtuse)
- Smooth upper leaf cells (compared to papillose), as seen under the microscope
- Leiomitrium is restricted to Indian Ocean islands
- Macrocoma is more widespread, but also occurs on the Indian Ocean islands
- Orthotrichum and Ulota can be commonly encountered in temperate regions of the world, such as Europe and North America
Leiomitrium plicatum is restricted to tropical oceanic islands where it grows on trees or rocks. More information is still required about its ecology.
Leiomitrium plicatum occurs on the Mascarene Islands of:
Leiomitrium plicatum has a very restricted global distribution and information about its abundance is limited. More data is needed to accurately access whether populations are stable, decreasing or increasing. The continued occurrence of this species on Mauritius and Rodrigues needs to be verified.
The major threat to Leiomitrium plicatum is considered to be habitat loss due to urban development.
- Forms mats of creeping stems with numerous short branches
- Is yellow-brown to green in colour
- Is dioicous
- Closely appressed to the stem when dry but spread out when wet
- Vary in shape from lanceolate to broadly oblong with a rounded leaf tip
- 0.8-1.5mm long
- Irregularly rounded and bulging
- 1-3 papillae per cell
- Rounded in shape
- Either smooth or have 1 papilla per cell
- Ends below the leaf tip
- more pointed tips
- cells either smooth or with only 1 papilla
- Sheathed by a long cup-shaped structure (ochrea)
- 8 groves
- 2 layers of peristome
- Relatively large
- Mitrate (shaped like a bishop’s miter)
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