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


Dawson superba (Giant moss)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class :Polytrichopsida
Order: Polytrichales
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Dawson
Species: D. superba
Binomial name: Dawson superba
Common name: Giant moss

Dawson superba is found in New Zealand, Australia and New Guinea growing to a height of 60 cm making it the largest in the world. The botanical name Dawsonia is a tribute to the English botanist Dawson Turner (1775 - 1858). The specific name superba comes from Latin and means "great”.
Each Dawsonia superba stands alone and has 1.5 mm wide stems which are densely leafy with flat stem leaves.
The spores are only 6 to 10 micrometers, and are among the smallest among moss spores. They are spread by raindrops falling on the moss.