Acrocarpous Moss vs. Pleurocarpous Moss | Differences Explained

Pleurocarpous moss, Pleurocarpous, Acrocarpous Moss, Acrocarpous,

All mosses can be classified into two types: Acrocarpous and Pleurocarpous. Below we explain the difference between these two types of mosses.

What Is Acrocarpous Moss?

Acrocarpous mosses have an upright growth habit and grow slower than Pleurocarpous mosses. defines Acrocarpous Moss as: “A type of moss in which the archegonia, and hence the capsules, are borne at the tips of stems or branches. Acrocarpous mosses usually show little or no branching and typically grow in erect tufts.”

How To Recognize Acrocarpous Mosses

The following characteristics can recognize acrocarpous mosses:

  • Acrocarps are usually unbranched and erect, forming a mounded colony.
  • Acrocarpous mosses are slower growing than Pleurocarpous mosses.
  • The sporophytes of the Acrocarpous mosses emerge from the tips of the plant.
  • Acrocarps do not regenerate from fragments as quickly as pleurocarpous mosses.
  • Weeds are less likely to invade acrocarpous mosses due to the thickness and tight-packed stems.

Acrocarpous Mosses For Gardens

Acrocarpous mosses are often used in moss gardens. Below you can find the most used ones. You can find acrocarpous moss for sale on our webshop.

(Common) Haircap Moss (Polytrichum Commune)

Common Haircap Moss, Polytrichum commune, haircap moss
Common Haircap Moss (latin name: Polytrichum Commune)

Haircap Moss (also known as Polytrichum Commune) is a medium to large moss. It is dark green but becomes brownish when it matures.

The stems of this Acrocarpous moss can occur in either loose or quite dense tufts and often form extensive colonies. 

The stems of Haircap moss are on average 5 to 10 centimeters in length. But it can often be as short as 2 cm or reach a height up to 70 cm. 

TIP: If you want to buy Haircap moss for your garden, you can buy it here.

Pincushion Moss (Luecobryum Glaucum)

pincushion moss, cushion moss, Leucobryum glaucum
Pincushion Moss (Latin name: Leucobryum Glaucum)

Pincushion moss (also known as Leucobryum Glaucum) is a species of moss from the family Leucobryaceae. This Acrocarpous moss grows on acidic soil in forests and peat bogs. It grows in big clumps and occurs in arid places.

Cushion moss can grow up to four centimeters and has needle-shaped leaves.

It is a beautiful moss for your garden because it feels like a cushion when you walk on it. 

TIP: If you want to buy Pincushion moss for your garden, you can buy it here.

Broom Forkmoss (Dicranum Scoparium)

broom forkmoss, Dicranum scoparium
Broom Forkmoss (Latin name: Dicranum Scoparium)

Broom Forkmoss (also known as Dicranum Scoparium) is another Acrocarpous moss and grows in colonies of big clumps. This moss is native to the northern hemisphere and covers the soil of moist forests.

This type of moss can be recognized from its coarse and robust nature. The stems are between 2-9 centimeters in height and have leaves that reach a length of 4–8 millimeters.

What Is Pleurocapous Moss?

Pleurocapous mosses have a prostrate growth habit and grow quicker than Acrocarpous mosses. defines Pleurocapous Moss as: “A type of moss in which archegonia, and hence capsules, are borne on short, lateral branches, and not at the tips of stems or branches. Pleurocarpous mosses are usually monopodially branched, often pinnately so, and tend to form spreading carpets rather than erect tufts.”

How To Recognize Pleurocapous Mosses

The following characteristics can recognize Pleurocarpous mosses:

  • Pleurocarpous mosses are freely branching chaotically.
  • Pleurocarps spread out branches from the colony in a creeping manner.
  • The sporophytes of Pleurocarpous mosses emerge mid stem.
  • Most Pleurocarps grow faster than Acrocarps.
  • Pleurocarpous mosses quickly regenerate from broken fragments.
  • Pleurocarpous mosses’ quick attachment to stone and growth rate makes them better for colonizing hard substrates.

Pleurocapous Mosses For Gardens

Maintenance of Pleurocarpous mosses in gardens is easier due to their matting tendencies and low even profile; blowing debris off them is easier.

Pleurocarps can be used as a nursery for acrocarpous mosses, once an area is colonized by these pioneer mosses, the slower-growing Acrocarps can more easily colonize.

Common used Pleurocarpous mosses for moss lawns can be found below. You can find acrocarpous moss for sale on our webshop.

Fern Moss (Thuidium Delecatulum)

fern moss, Thuidium Delecatulum
Fern moss (Latin name: Thuidium Delecatulum)

Fern moss (also known as Thuidium Delecatulum) is often used in moss lawns and is one of the most popular pleurocarpous mosses. 

This Pleurocapous moss forms a loose mat over the soil with evergreen compound leaves. The leaves are yellowish to bright green and can be triple or double pinnate.  

The central stems of the leaves of Fern moss can reach a length of 3.5 inches. The narrow scale-like leaves can get a size of 0.6 millimeters. 

TIP: If you want to buy Fern moss for your garden, you can buy it here.

Sheet Moss (Hypnum Impones)

Sheet Moss, Hypnum Impones
Sheet Moss (Latin name: Hypnum Impones)

Sheet moss (also known as Hypnum Impones) is a Pleurocapous moss that forms shiny golden mats up to 10 cm long (4 inches) and is the reason why it is also called sheet moss. 

This type of moss is often used for moss lawns and can replace ordinary grass backyards as long as there is enough shade and moisture. 

This moss is green/reddish and has lying stems. The branches are irregular, and sheet moss has flattened leaves and is soft to touch. 

Walking on sheet moss is like walking on a cloud!

TIP: If you want to buy Sheet moss for your garden, you can buy it here.

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