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U.S. Forest Service

Plant of the Week

Map of the United States showing states colored green where the species may be found. Range map of stream bogmoss, Mayaca fluviatilis.

Close-up bogmoss flower. Mayaca fluviatilis flower. Photo by Dick Pike, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Stream bogmoss vegetative form. Mayaca fluviatilis vegetative form. Photo by Tom Philipps, U.S. Forest Service.

Stream bogmoss vegetative form in flower. Mayaca fluviatilis in flower. Photo by Tom Philipps, U.S. Forest Service.

Stream Bogmoss (Mayaca fluviatilis Aubl.)

By Thomas C. Philipps

Mayaca fluviatilis is a perennial monocot belonging to the family Mayacaceae, where it is the only member of this family. While the common name implies that it is a moss and it may look like a moss in its vegetative form, it is not a moss at all. This plant, unlike mosses, has a true vascular system made up of conducting tissue called xylem and phloem which transports water and minerals throughout the plant. It is a small plant that lies prostrate to the ground. The flowers, occurring solitary at the tips of the plant, are only about ½ inch wide. This plant will be in flower, apparently, whenever conditions are right; generally anytime between March and November with peak flowering occurring between May and October. Its preferred habitat includes wet soils and shallow water areas, especially within spring seepage fed small creek bottoms or baygalls, often within low-standing pools. These areas may be highly acidic and have a large amount of organic material present. Be careful when looking for bogmoss, as it tends to occur along with poison sumac and water moccasins!

For More Information

PLANTS Profile - Mayaca fluviatilis, stream bogmoss