T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Dendroligotrichum dendroides (Giant moss)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Bryopsida
Order: Polytrichales
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Dendroligotrichum
Species: D. dendroides
Scientific name: Dendroligotrichum dendroides
Synonyms: Catharinea dendroides, Dendroligotrichum dendroides subsp. Dendroides, Polytrichum dendroides,
Polytrichum tongariroense. 
Common name: Giant moss

The moss Dendroligotrichum dendroides is a dendroid antipodean growing in forest habitats through out New Zealand and Chile usually at altitudes of about 1000m. Dendroligotrichum dendroides and Dawsonia superba, both giant mosses belong to two exclusively Gondwanalandic genera of the Polytrichales.
Dendroligotrichum dendroides grows as a self-supporting plant up to 40 cm in height but 20 cm in more usual. This moss represents one of the tallest self-supporting bryophytes. The stems can develop a high degree of stiffness via a dense hypodermal sterome (stabilizing tissues) that is comparable with that of woody stems of vascular plants.
This moss holds rain water on its leaves surface by cohesion with water that is in the spaces between the many lamellae (thin plate-like structures) on the midribs surface.

This moss was photographed on Mt Taranaki/Mt Egmont at an elevation of 900 m.