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Published In: Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 12: 51. 1869. (J. Linn. Soc., Bot.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

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Leptodontium ulocalyx is the most common species of Leptodontium in Central America. It has broad ecological tolerances, is found from 140 m to 3700 m elevation, and is extremely  variable in morphology. Diagnostic leaf features of this taxon include its reddish brown, tomentose stems, sharply acuminate leaves with porose basal cells that are pluripapillose to near the insertion, well-developed, quadrate to short-rectangular, thick-walled alar cells, strongly collenchymatous upper cells with low scattered papillae, and blunt, usually papillose, marginal teeth. Unfortunately, all of these features can be distressingly variable. Zander (1972) treated it as a variety of L. viticulosoides, an autoicous species that differs from L. ulocalyx in having weakly porose or straight-walled basal leaf cells that are smooth a considerable distance from the insertion, lax, rectangular alar cells, sharp, smooth marginal teeth, and stems with a whitish tomentum. Leptodontium viticulosoides is apparently pseudoanisosporous, i.e., has two sizes of spores, each in equal numbers, with the smaller ones being aborted. The spores of L. ulocalyx are mostly of one size.  However,  L. ulocalyx is variable in this respect and occasionally single collections have a mix of capsules with single-sized spores that are all viable, and two-sized spores with the smaller spores non-viable and variable in number.

Morphological variability in this species is so great that it is hard to accept it as a single species. In examining this taxon for possible segregates, special attention should be given to perichaetial leaf length. In some species the inner perichaetial leaves nearly overtop the capsule, while in others they are less than 1/4 the setae length. An especially noteworthy variation of this taxon is found in the expression typified by Leptodontium cirrhifolium Mitt. This expression has exceedingly long leaves with a costa that ends well below the apex, sinuate upper leaf margins, and upper leaf cells to 22 μm long.

The rhizoids in L. ulocalyx generally have two distinct forms: thick and unbranched ones  arising from closely spaced stem initials that often adhere together, and thin, highly branched ones arising from scattered stem initials. On any given stem the thin-type of rhizoids greatly outnumber the thick-type. Occasionally the thick rhizoids are secondarily branched and these branches are of the thin-type form.

In Guatemala L. ulocalyx is gathered, at times dyed green (see Standley 76423, F, NY) and sold in the markets for making decorations and wreaths on All Saints Day.

Illustrations: Bartram (1949, Fig. 50 D–F, as L. sulphureum; Fig. 51 A–D); Zander (1972, Figs. 2, 12–13, 73–80); Sharp et al. (1994, Fig. 196 a–d); Churchill and Linares (1995, Fig. 156 g–k). Figure 50.
Habitat: On tree trunks (Quercus, Cornus, conifer), roots,  canopy branches and twigs (Quercus, Alnus, Buddleya) rotting logs (Cupressus, conifer), shaded moist soil banks, dry ground in heath, hummocks, bogs, dry or moist rocks, and on road beds; 140–3700 m.
Distribution in Central America: GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz: Standley 92603 (F, MICH, NY, TENN); Baja Verapaz: Croat 41160 (GUAT, MO); Chimaltenango: Standley 61858 (F); El Progreso: Steyermark 43114 (F, MICH, NY); Guatemala: Standley 80608 (F); Huehuetenango: Standley 82720 (F, MICH, MO, NY, TENN); Jalapa: Steyermark 33119 (F, MICH); Quezaltenango: Sharp 2132 (MO, TENN); Quiché: Sharp 2348 (MO, NY, TENN); Sacatepéquez: Standley 65275 (F, MICH); San Marcos: Croat 40920A (MO); Sololá: Steyermark 47504C (F); Totonicapán: Sharp 2610 (MICH, MO, TENN); Zacapa: Steyermark 42319a (F, MO). EL SALVADOR. Ahuachapán: Monro et al. 2040 (BM, MO); Chalatenango: Sipman et al. 37626 (MO, NY); Santa Ana: Croat 42319 (ITIC, MO, NY); San Vicente: Standley 21551 (MO, NY); Sonsonate: Croat 42231 (MO). HONDURAS. Atlántida: Allen 17520 (MO, TEFH); Comayagua: Allen 12329 (MO, TEFH); Cortés: Allen 14307 (MO, TEFH); Francisco Morazán: Pilz 1583 (MO); Lempira: Allen 11838 (MO, TEFH); Ocotepeque: Allen 14421 (MICH, MO, TEFH); Olancho: Allen 12465 (MO, TEFH). NICARAGUA. Estelí: Stevens 10786 (MICH, MO, NIC, NY, US); Jinotega: Stevens & Grijalva 15804 (MO, NIC). COSTA RICA. Alajuela: Rojas 395 (MO); Cartago: King C91-66 (MO); Heredia: Croat 35540 (BUF, MO); Limón: Gutierrez 191 (F, MICH, NY); Puntarenas: Crosby 2504 (BUF, CR, DUKE, H, MICH, MO, NY, US);  San José: Croat 32882 (BUF, BM, CR, DUKE, F, FH, H, MICH, MEXU, MO, NY, S, TEFH, US). PANAMA. Bocas del Toro: Allen 5331 (MO, PMA); Chiriquí: D’Arcy et al. 13110 (MO, MICH, NY, PMA, US).
World Range: Mexico; Central America; Caribbean, Western and Northern South America, Brazil.


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Leptodontium ulocalyx (C. Müll.) Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 51. 1869.

Trichostomum ulocalyx C. Müll., Syn. Musc. Frond. 1: 578. 1849. Didymodon ulocalyx (C. Müll.) Jaeg., Ber. Thätigk. St. Gallischen Naturwiss. Ges. 1871-1872: 360. 1873. Protologue: Mexico. Deppe et Schiede. Ecuador. Monte Pichincha Andium Quitensium: W. Jameson. Lectotype (Zander 1972): Mexico, Deppe & Schiede, s.n. (FH).

Trichostomum sulphureum C. Müll., Syn. Musc. Frond. 2: 626. 1851. Leptodontium sulphureum (C. Müll.) Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot 12: 51. 1869. Didymodon sulphureus (C. Müll.) Jaeg., Ber. Thätigk. St. Gallischen Naturwiss. Ges. 1871-1872: 360. 1873. Leptodontium viticulosoides var. sulphureum (Lor.) Zand., Bryologist 86: 156. 1983. Protologue: Nicaragua. America centralis, Nicaragua in monte vulcanico Viego, alt. 5000 pedum: A. S. Oersted m. Febr. 1847 legit (NY).

Leptodontium sulphureum var. panamense Lor., Moosstudien 161. 1864. Didymodon sulphureus var. panamense (Lor.) Jaeg., Ber. Thätigk. St. Gallischen Naturwiss. Ges. 1871-1872: 360. 1873. Leptodontium viticulosiodes var. panamense (Lor.) Zand., Bryologist 75: 250. 1972. Protologue: Panama. Prov. Chiriqui in Panama leg. M. Wagner (NY). 

Leptodontium cirrhifolium Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 12: 52. 1869. Didymodon cirrhifolius (Mitt.) Jaeg., Ber. Thätigk. St. Gallischen Naturwiss. Ges. 1871-1872: 361. 1873. Leptodontium ulocalyx var. cirrhifolium (Mitt.) Bartr., Fieldiana, Bot. 25: 122. 1949. Protologue: Ecuador. Andes Quitenses, ad terram et rupes secus Banos in monte Tunguragua, Spruce, n. 28 et 28b; Guayrapata, Spruce, n. 28c. Lectotype (Zander 1972): Ecuador, Tunguragua, Spruce 28 (NY).

Leptodontium motelayi Ren. & Card., Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 38(1): 11. 1900. Leptodontium sulfureum var. motelayi (Ren. & Card.) Bartr., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 26: 74. 1928.  Protologue: Costa Rica. America centralis: Costarica, San Jose, herb. Motelay; comm. cl. Bescherelle (NY).

Leptodontium perannulatum Williams, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 34: 572. 1908.  Protologue: Guatemala. Volcan de Agua, on sheltered rocks, 3400–3750 meters, March 22, 1905, H. Pittier 42 (F, NY). 

Plants medium to large in loose tufts or mats, yellow-green to light green, brown below, to 15 cm high. Stems red, erect or laxly ascending, sclerodermis present, moderately to densely radiculose, often with a thick, reddish brown tomentum. Leaves moderately spaced, erect at base, crispate to contorted, undulate at margins when dry, squarrose to squarrose-recurved, smooth or undulate at margins when wet, ovate-lanceolate to long-lanceolate, 2.5–8 mm long, keeled above, sheathing at base, decurrent; apices acute; margins recurved in lower 1/2–2/3, dentate in upper 1/3, teeth pluripapillose, sometimes smooth; costa subpercurrent; upper leaf cells quadrate to hexagonal, thick-walled, collenchymatous, pluripapillose, papillae low, scattered over the lumina, 5–17.5(–27.5) x 5–7 μm, inner basal cells long-rectangular to elongate, pluripapillose nearly to the insertion, thick-walled, porose, 30–88 x 2.5–6 μm, outer basal leaf cells similar to upper leaf cells, alar cells short-rectangular to quadrate, thick-walled. Plants at times with long, slender, flagellate branchlets along the stems, branchlet leaves spreading to recurved when wet, lanceolate, not deciduous, costa subpercurrent. Dioicous. Setae straight, 1–2 per perichaetium, 5–15 mm long, yellow. Capsules erect to somewhat curved, cylindrical, 3–5 mm long, smooth; exothecial cells short-rectangular, firm-walled; stomata at base of urn; opercula conic-rostrate, 1–1.5 mm long; exostome teeth short, linear, irregularly divided nearly to the base, red-brown, striate, lightly papillose, 200–400 μm long. Spores 22–37.5 μm, slightly papillose. Calyptrae cucullate, smooth, 6 mm long.


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