|Miniature palm trees and striped poles.|
Mosses are difficult to identify, but this one looked easy. A forest of tiny, spiky trees, and those distinctive, long, multicoloured sporophytes, growing on a mineral base. I looked through all my saved photos. Not there. Those sporophytes weren't in my guide book. I carefully plowed through all 206 E-Flora species. No luck.
I pondered the Juniper Haircap moss, but the sporophytes didn't match. And the photos showed little red-brown crowns on the "trees".
I Googled until my eyes were watering. And finally found it.
Juniper Haircap, after all.
|UBC Botanical Garden photo, by Daniel Mosquin. Creative Commons.|
It all depends on the time of year. And whether its male or female. And how old the sporophytes are.
It grows in two phases; the first phase has no sporophytes. The sporophytes grow only on the female plants. Male and female plants may grow in separate clumps. (USDA). The males have those reddish crowns; the females don't.
|Male Juniper Haircap stems. Photo by Ian Sutton.|
Then the sporophytes, growing on female plants, show up in the second stage. At first, they are upright and slender, but as they age, they bend over and fatten up. Most of the photos I found showed the older sporophytes.
Nothing is ever easy, is it?