Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Pleurozium schreberi


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1992. Pleurozium schreberi. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : PLESCH SYNONYMS : Calliergonella schreberi (Brid.) Grout SCS PLANT CODE : NO-ENTRY COMMON NAMES : Schreber's moss red-stemmed feather moss feather moss TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Schreber's moss is Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt., J. Linn. [16,24,37]. LIFE FORM : Bryophyte FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Schreber's moss is a widespread and common moss ranging from Greenland to Alaska south (principally in uplands) to North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Dakota, Colorado and west to Washington, California and Oregon.  It also is found in South America, Europe, and Asia [16,35]. It occurs in the Cordilleran Ranges and southward to Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Patagonia [35].  Schreber's moss is new to Mexico, where it has been found on the Cofre de Perote Volcano [18]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES22  Western white pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES25  Larch    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES44  Alpine STATES :      AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  ID  IL      IN  IA  KY  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MT  NH      NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH  OR  PA  RI  SD  TN      UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  AB  BC  MB      NB  NF  NT  NS  ON  PE  PQ  SK  YT  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     6  Upper Basin and Range     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    15  Black Hills Uplift    16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest    K004  Fir - hemlock forest    K005  Mixed conifer forest    K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest    K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest    K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K020  Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest    K021  Southwestern spruce - fir forest    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K094  Conifer bog    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest    K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest    K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES :      1  Jack pine      5  Balsam fir     12  Black spruce     13  Black spruce - tamarack     18  Paper birch     30  Red spruce - yellow birch     31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech     32  Red spruce     33  Red spruce - balsam fir     34  Red spruce - Fraser fir     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir     37  Northern white-cedar     38  Tamarack    107  White spruce    201  White spruce    202  White spruce - paper birch    204  Black spruce    205  Mountain hemlock    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce    226  Coastal true fir - hemlock    251  White spruce - aspen    253  Black spruce - white spruce    254  Black spruce -  paper birch    256  California mixed subalpine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Schreber's moss typically occurs as a dominant or codominant ground cover in stands dominated by white spruce (Picea glauca) or black spruce (P. mariana).  The black spruce-Schreber's moss forest community described by Foster [13] is the most widespread vegetation type in southern Labrador and occupies a wide range of sites from poorly drained outwash plains to convex slopes and hill crests.  In the black spruce/ bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)-bog Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum)/Schreber's moss community type described by Foote [12], Schreber's moss commonly covers about half of the forest floor. Published classification schemes identifying Schreber's moss as a ground cover dominant or codominant are as follows: Some forest types of central Newfoundland and their relation to   environmental factors [7]. Forest community types of west-central Alberta in relation to selected   environmental factors [6]. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant communities after   fire in the taiga of interior Alaska [12]. A review of forest site classification activities in Newfoundland and   Labrador [25]. Preliminary classification of forest vegetation of the Kenai Peninsula,   Alaska [28]. Vegetation types and environmental factors associated with foothills gas   pipeline route, Yukon Territory [30]. Flood-plain succession and vegetation classification in interior Alaska [33].


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : OTHER USES AND VALUES : In the past, Schreber's moss was collected and used to block chinks in the walls of homes in Scandinavia.  It is still used for chinking log homes in Russia.  It was also used for lining fruit and vegetable storage boxes [29]. Schreber's moss is used as an indicator of heavy metal deposition [11,29].  It is often used in locating pollution sources and determining levels of pollution of heavy metals in the environment.  It absorbs metals over its entire surface and is little influenced by variations in substrate mineralization.  Close to the source, this moss accumulates high levels of metals [29]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Schreber's moss is known to efficiently intercept nutrients contained in precipitation and throughfall.  It therefore can prevent rapid leaching of nutrients to lower horizons of the soil.  In view of its storage capacity, the moss carpet can act as a reservoir in which a large proportion of the potentially available nutrients found in the ecosystem is sequestered.  However, it has also been recognized that mechanisms may exist for the transfer of nutrients from the moss carpet to the trees.  Mycorrhizal roots of some trees grow in close association with mosses such as Schreber's moss.  Phosphate (32P) and carbon (14C) applied to Schreber's moss shoots were absorbed by mycorrhizal mycelia and transferred to infected lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) roots and then to their shoots [4]. In 100-year-old stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), artificial acid rain with a pH of 2.5 to 3.0 caused severe damage to Schreber's moss [27].


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Schreber's moss is a perennial, relatively large, robust moss with a weave growth form.  It is usually prostrate or partly erect, freely branched, and grows in mats rather than tufts [24].  The stems are 2.4 to 4.5 inches (6-15 cm) long, and the leaves loosely imbricate [16]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : NO-ENTRY REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual reproduction:  Schreber's moss is a dioecious, pleurocarpous (producing the sporophytes laterally from short, lateral, specialized branches rather that at the stem tip) moss.  The spores are shed 9 to 12 months after fertilization [24].  The period of gametangial (structure containing the gametes) development in Schreber's moss is approximately 7 months for archegonia (female gametophyte) and 9 months for antheridia (male gametophtye).  The timing of gametangial development in spring may be influenced by the duration or severity of the winter [24]. Vegetative reproduction:  Schreber's moss reproduces vegetatively by branching laterally.  The main stems of this moss are perennial and appear to be capable of indefinite growth.  There is a growth resting phase in the winter [24]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Schreber's moss often occurs in closed to semi-open coniferous forests predominantly in boreal and cool temperate climates.  It also occurs in damp woods, swamps, or margins of bogs.  Although Schreber's moss is most abundant in old, closed, mesic stands, it is also found in dry, nutrient-poor, open, black spruce-lichen stands in suitable areas at the base of birch (Betula spp.) and black spruce [19,21,35].  In Alabama, Schreber's moss is found growing abundantly on a large soil island over granite beneath Georgia oak (Quercus georgiana) [35]. Soils:  Schreber's moss occurs on humus and exposed mineral soil and coarse fragments or rocks [21].  It is often abundant on nitrogen-poor, acidic soils throughout much of its range and is sometimes used as an indicator of acidic soils [24,35].  The pH at one Schreber moss site is 5.7 [35].  Soil textures range from course to fine sand, loam, or clay-loam [17].  It normally does not grow on calcareous soils [2]. Plant associates:  Schreber's moss is often associated with the following species:  mountain fern moss (Hylocomium splendens), salal (Gaultheria shallon), big huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), pachistima (Pachistima myrsinites), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), ptilium (Ptilium crista-castrensis), Labrador-tea, mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea minus), bog blueberry, black crowberry (Empetrum nigra), and peat mosses (Sphagnum spp.) [12,21]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Climax Species Schreber's moss is very shade tolerant and typically occurs in stable late stages of succession.  After the canopy closes, Schreber's moss will generally form a continuous carpet on the forest floor [5].  Given a shady, humid, high-nutrient environment as is found on the cool, basal slopes of black spruce-white spruce-feather moss stands, Schreber's moss is a very effective competitor against other species.  It can quickly spread over and eliminate other ground cover such as lichens [19]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : The beginning of blooming in mosses occurs when one or two archegonia open.  In North America, Schreber's moss blooms in August and September [24].  The gametangial develop in spring of the following year.  In Germany, fertilization generally occurs in May, while in Sweden it is delayed until July.  The spores are shed throughout the year following fertilization.  The dates given for capsule dehiscence in three countries are as follows [24]:         Sweden: May         Holland: February to May         Germany: February to March or March to April Capsules may persist on stems for at least twelve months after dehiscing [24].


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Schreber's moss is not well adapted to fire.  It typically occurs in wet stands of white or black spruce that have a fire regime of 200 to 400 years [34].  When they do burn, the moss/lichen layer provide the major source of fuels.  These fuels take only minutes to reach equilibrium moisture content when the relative humidity changes; therefore, they are very flammable [36]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Pleurozium schreberi
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Schreber's moss is generally killed by fire because it often lacks connection with the substrate [31,32].  Some moss species can survive on burned sites as fragments in the soil [1]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Schreber's moss recovery after fire is very slow [32,34].  It is not until favorable edaphic conditions and a closed or nearly closed canopy is established that Schreber's moss can spread and form a continuous moss cover.  It therefore often takes several decades before Schreber's moss will recover to prefire densities [32]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Twenty-four years after a fire in a northern Swedish forest, Schreber's moss was still very rare in the severely burned areas [32].  The percent cover values of Schreber's moss in a jack pine (Pinus banksiana)-black spruce forest in northeastern Minnesota at different intervals after fire were as follows [1]:
Years after fire 1-4 5 10 15 20 30 50 80
Cover (%) 0 1 2 3 3 3 9 5
For information on prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant 
species, including common liverwort, see Hamilton's Research Papers  
(Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) and this Research Project Summary:


References for species: Pleurozium schreberi

1. Ahlgren, C. E. 1974. Effects of fire on temperate forests: north central United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 195-223. [7198]
2. Bates, Jeffrey W.; Farmer, Andrew M., eds. 1992. Bryophytes and lichens in a changing environment. New York: Oxford University Press. 352 p. [28342]
3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]
4. Carleton, T. J.; Read, D. J. 1991. Ectomycorrhizas and nutrient transfer in conifer - feather moss ecosystems. Canadian Journal of Botany. 69: 778-785. [14956]
5. Carleton, T. J.; Wannamaker, Brenda A. 1987. Mortality and self-thinning in postfire black spruce. Annals of Botany. 59: 621-628. [7879]
6. Corns, I. G. W. 1983. Forest community types of west-central Alberta in relation to selected environmental factors. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 13: 995-1010. [691]
7. Damman, A. W. H. 1964. Some forest types of central Newfoundland and their relation to environmental factors. Forest Science Monograph 8. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 62 p. [14281]
8. De Grandpre, Louis; Gagnon, Daniel; Bergeron, Yves. 1993. Changes in the understory of Canadian southern boreal forest after fire. Journal of Vegetation Science. 4: 803-810. [23019]
9. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
10. Fleming, R. L.; Mossa, D. S. 1994. Direct seeding of black spruce in northwestern Ontario: seedbed relationships. Forestry Chronicle. 70(2): 151-158. [23576]
11. Folkeson, Lennart. 1981. Heavy-metal accumulation in the moss Pleurozium schreberi in the surroundings of two peat-fired plants in Finland. Ann. Bot. Fennici. 18: 245-253. [19525]
12. Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p. [7080]
13. Foster, David R. 1985. Vegetation development following fire in Picea mariana (black spruce) - Pleurozium forests of south-eastern Labrador, Canada. Journal of Ecology. 73: 517-534. [7222]
14. Foster, N. W.; Morrison, I. K. 1976. Distribution and cycling of nutrients in a natural Pinus banksiana ecosystem. Ecology. 57: 110-120. [8515]
15. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
16. Ireland, R. R. 1982. Moss flora of the Maritime Provinces. Publications in Botany No. 13. [Ottawa, ON]: National Museum of Natural Sciences. 738 p. [18662]
17. Jameson, J. S. 1961. Observations on factors influencing jack pine reproduction in Saskatchewan. Technical Note No. 97. Ottawa: Department of Forestry, Forest Research Division. 24 p. [7284]
18. Jeglum, J. K. 1975. Classification of swamp for forestry problems. In: Fraser, J. W.; Jeglum, J. K.; Ketcheson, D. E.; [and others], technical coordinators. Black pruce symposium: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 September 23-25; Thunder Bay, ON. Symposium Proceedings 0-P-4. Sault Ste. Marie, ON: Department of the Environment, Canadian Forestry Service, Great Lakes Forest Research Centre: 227-241. [8837]
19. Johnson, E. A. 1981. Vegetation organization and dynamics of lichen woodland communities in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Ecology. 62(1): 200-215. [19244]
20. Jonsson, Bengt Gunnar; Esseen, Per-Anders. 1990. Treefall disturbance maintains high bryophyte diversity in a boreal spruce forest. Journal of Ecology. 78: 924-936. [14217]
21. Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. 288 p. [10703]
22. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
23. Lesquereux, Leo; James, Thomas P. 1884. Manual of the mosses of North America. Boston, MA: S.E. Cassino & Co. 447 p. [18656]
24. Longton, R. E.; Greene, S. W. 1969. The growth and reproductive cycle of Pleurozium scriberi (Brid.) Mitt. Annals of Botany. 33: 83-105. [28340]
25. Meades, W. J.; Roberts, B. A. 1992. A review of forest site classification activities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Forestry Chronicle. 68(1): 25-33. [19262]
26. Norum, Rodney A. 1983. Wind adjustment factors for predicting fire behavior in three fuel types in Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-309. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 5 p. [14618]
27. Oswald, E. T.; Brown, B. N. 1990. Vegetation establishment during 5 years following wildfire in northern British Columbia and southern Yukon Territory. Information Report BC-X-320. Victoria, BC: Forestry Canada, Pacific and Yukon Region, Pacific Forestry Centre. 46 p. [16934]
28. Reynolds, Keith M. 1990. Preliminary classification of forest vegetation of the Kenai Penninsula, Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-424. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 67 p. [14581]
29. Richardson, D. H. 1981. The biology of mosses. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications. 220 p. [18658]
30. Stanek, Walter. 1980. Vegetation types and environmental factors associated with Foothills Gas Pipeline route, Yukon Territory. BC-X-205. Victoria, BC: Environment Canada, Canadian Forestry Service, Pacific Forest Research Centre. 48 p. [16527]
31. Uemura, Shigeru; Tsuda, Satoshi; Hasegawa, Sakae. 1990. Effects of fire on the vegetation of Siberian taiga predominated by Larix dahurica. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research. 20: 547-553. [11808]
32. Uggla, Evald. 1959. Ecological effects of fire on north Swedish forests. Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiksells. 18 p. [9911]
33. Viereck, Leslie A. 1989. Flood-plain succession and vegetation classification in interior Alaska. In: Ferguson, Dennis E.; Morgan, Penelope; Johnson, Frederic D., compilers. Proceedings--land classifications based on vegetation: applications for resource management; 1987 November 17-19; Moscow, ID. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-257. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 197-203. [6959]
34. Viereck, Leslie A.; Schandelmeier, Linda A. 1980. Effects of fire in Alaska and adjacent Canada--a literature review. BLM-Alaska Tech. Rep. 6. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Mangement, Alaska State Office. 124 p. [7075]
35. Wyatt, Robert; Stoneburner, Ann. 1982. Range extensions for some cryptograms from granite outcrops in Alabama. The Bryologist. 85(4): 405-409. [28366]
36. Norum, Rodney A. 1982. Predicting wildfire behavior in black spruce forests in Alaska. Res. Note PNW-401. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Fire, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 10 p. [10463]
37. Crum, Howard A.; Anderson, Lewis E. 1981. Mosses of eastern North America. Vol. 2. New York: Columbia University Press. 1328 p. [28341]