to medium-sized, in loose to dense mats, dull light to dark
green. Stems creeping, to 10 mm long, irregularly
pinnately branched, terminal stems and branches often spreading
to ascending and curled, radiculose beneath. Leaves appressed
to weakly complanate, occasionally appearing 4-ranked, ovate,
ovate-oblong to nearly orbicular, 0.5-1.2 mm long, symmetric
to asymmetric, concave, apex acuminate to acute or rounded,
apiculate or piliferous; margins plane, entire; laminal cells
smooth or pluripapillose, apical cells elongate or isodiametric;
median cells quadrate- to hexagonal-rounded and horizontally
arranged or oblate; alar region differentiated, cells oblong,
oblately arranged. Perichaetial leaves often
enveloping sporophyte, oval to oblong. Seta short,
0.2-0.8 mm long. Capsule immersed to shortly
exserted, erect to subinclined, urn short-cylindrical, 0.8-1.5
mm long; stomata absent or several at base of urn, superficial;
annulus absent or compound and persistent. Operculum conic-rostrate. Peristome absent
or poorly developed, papillose. Calyptra mitrate-short
campanulate or elongate and twisted, plicate and lobed at base,
or appearing cucullate, roughened or not. Spores smooth
to lightly papillose.
Usually epiphytic, on tree trunks and exposed roots or logs,
in shaded or partially exposed sites; semi-arid forests and
isolated trees (e.g. on roadsides, in gardens), from near sea
level to 1700 m.
The genus is characterised by its usually epiphytic habitat,
opaque leaves and the smooth or pluripapillose laminal cells.
The plants are often closely appressed to the substrate, sometimes
(non-piliferous species) superficially resembling a liverwort
such as Frullania. Crum (1972) provided an account of the family
as a whole. Further information for the family in Africa, including
keys, was provided by Egunyomi (1980), Hodgetts (1997) and
Magill & van Rooy (1998).
H. 1972. A taxonomic account of the Erpodiaceae.
Nova Hedwigia 23: 201-224. Egunyomi, A. 1980. Mosses
from Nigeria III: new records from the Middle-Belt area.
Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory 48: 187-193. Hodgetts,
N.G. 1997. British Bryological Society expedition
to Mulanje Mountain, Malawi 3. Erpodiaceae (Musci). Journal
of Bryology 19: 113-118. Magill, R.E. & van Rooy,
J. 1998. - see general ref. Stone, I.G.
1997. A revision of Erpodiaceae with particular
reference to Australian taxa. Journal of Bryology 19: 485-502.
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