Life cycle

Mat-forming, mostly perennial spore-producing plants.

moss foliage
Moss on a soil surface.

General description

Low-growing plants with very small foliage that form dense clumps in shady, moist places. Clumps rang from dime-sized to several feet across. Some upright growth is possible, but plants usually reach only 0.25 to 1 inch in height. Plants have root-like rhizoids, which are not true roots but have similar functions. New plants form by vegetative reproduction and by spores released from capsules at the ends of leafless stalks. No true flowers or fruit are produced.

moss capsules moss capsules close-up
Moss capsules (left). Close-up of moss capsules (right).


Densely and spirally arranged leaves are very small, 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and awl-shaped. They lack petioles.

moss foliage close-up
Close-up of moss foliage.


Slender, hair-like and highly branching.


Vegetatively and by spores.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.