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Published In: Contributio ad Floram Cryptogamam Asiae Boreali-Orientalis 269. 1872[1873]. (Contr. Fl. Crypt. As.) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

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Scopelophila has ligulate, lingulate or spathulate leaves with smooth leaf cells. Its costa has a single (dorsal) stereid band, the stem lacks a cental strand, and the capsules are eperistomate. The genus grows on mineralized soil or rocks and is tolerant of soil contaminated with copper, manganese, zinc, iron, aluminum or lead (Persson 1956, Shaw 1987, Shaw & Anderson 1988, Shaw & Beers 1989).

Zander (1993) placed Scopelophila in subfamily Merceyoideae tribe Barbuleae. Within that group the genus seems closely related to Streptopogon which also has smooth leaf cells, a single (dorsal) costal stereid band, and no stem central strand. Unlike ScopelophilaStreptopogon is mostly epiphytic, has a stem sclerodermis, conic-mitrate calyptrae, and 16–32 long, spirally twisted peristome teeth.

The Central American species of Scopelophila were treated in detail by Zander (1967).


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Scopelophila (Mitt.) Lindb., Acta Soc. Sci. Fenn. 10: 269. 1872.

Weissia sect. Scopelophila Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 135. 1869. Scopelophila (Mitt.) Spruce, J. Bot. 10: 12. 1881, comb. superfl.

Merceya Schimp., Syn. Musc. Eur. (ed. 2): 852. 1876. 

Plants small to medium-sized, caespitose, green to yellowish green above, brown or blackish brown below, saxicolous or terricolous. Stems erect, irregularly branched, central strand absent, all cortical cells thin-walled, more or less uniform throughout; rhizoids scattered on stems, smooth or verrucose. Axillary hairs 2–3 or 5–6 cells long, lower 1–2 cells brown. Leaves ligulate, lingulate, oblong, or spathulate, erect or spreading at base, keeled, flexuose when dry, erect when wet; apices acute, short-acuminate or rounded-obtuse; laminae unistratose; margins entire or slightly crenulate; costa subpercurrent to percurrent, guide cells and single (dorsal) stereid cells well-developed, ventral surface layer of enlarged cells present or absent; upper cells rounded-quadrate, hexagonal, or oblate, firm-walled, somewhat bulging and smooth on both sides, basal cells rectangular, thin-walled, smooth, alar cells not differentiated. Dioicous. Perichaetia and perigonia terminal. Setae smooth.  Capsules exserted, short-cylindrical, erect, smooth, yellowish brown; exothecial cells quadrate to rectangular, thin-walled; stomata in neck; opercula rostrate; annuli persistent; peristome absent. Spores granulate. Calyptrae cucullate, smooth.


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