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Rhytidiadelphus Triquetrus Descriptive Essay


Genealogy As a Hobby:

The second most popular hobby in the United States is genealogy and family history research.   At the Public Library, we have an extensive collection of genealogy materials to assist patrons in this research. 

Our Facilities:

Our Facilities The Genealogy section of the Piggott library houses our local History and Genealogy Collection of books, journals, family files microfilm, microfiche, all of which are available for usage at the library.

Local Newspapers and Microfilm Records:

Local Newspapers and Microfilm The Piggott library also offers a collection of Piggott Newspapers on microfilm going back to 1942. Some newspapers are in paper form, also. Other microfilm and microfiche includes census.

Getting Started:

For those just getting started with their genealogy research, the library can provide basic information and forms.  There are also local genealogists available for those who want additional personal assistance with their research.

Supplies you will need: 

Two three ring binders, a small notebook such as a steno pad, several black ink pens, several sharp pencils, and a supply of Family Group Sheets and Four Generation Pedigree Charts. You can start with the simplified FamilyGroup Sheet and  Family Tree Sheet from the Library. The staff at the Library can provide you with a complimentary copy from which you can make additional copies, or download a copy (note: the Family Tree uses Tabloid size paper 17x11, a Letter Size Family Tree 8.5x11 sheet is also available but shrunk to fit). Always write your name, phone number and address on each notebook.

Start with yourself and work backward in time: 

Using the Family Tree Four Generation Pedigree Chart begin with yourself and fill in as much information as possible. Interview family members and examine all documents such as family Bibles, wills, property deeds, photographs, letters, birth certificates and military discharge papers. Never start with a supposed ancestor and work forward.
Read one or more basic guides to genealogical research. 
Check books that we have in our collection by using the catalog online for other genealogical resources

Attend basic workshop: 

Sign up for one of the basic genealogy workshops at the library, sponsored by the Genealogy Society of Craighead County. The charge for the workshops will vary.

Use the library resources: 

Use the library's online catalog to search for material located in the library or at the branches. Genealogy Databases offer a wide range of information including census records from around the country. Patrons must have a library card to access the databases.

Always try to find primary sources: 

Indexers, authors and abstracters inevitably make mistakes. Whenever possible, look at original wills, deeds, birth certificates and other documents, or copies of them on microfilm.

Read documents with caution: 

You will see old-fashioned terminology, handwriting, spelling and grammar. There are tools to help you decipher old documents.

Beware the common pitfalls of research: 

Think of ways your surname could be misspelled, then search under those spellings. Remember that boundaries and names of counties sometimes change. In recalling where they lived years ago, relatives may name the nearest big city rather than the actual locale, or say the name of the county seat when they mean to name the county. Study the ways various documents are organized before you try to use them.

Keep careful records: 

Whenever possible, make photocopies of documents. Always record titles and dates of your sources.

Expect to visit many libraries and archives and to use many types of tools: 

No single collection will hold every document that you need. Likewise, no single source will answer all your questions. You will eventually use most of the tools of the genealogist: census records, deeds, county histories, wills, death certificates, etc.


Please keep in mind that the library staff members are not genealogists. They can help you locate the published materials in the library, or suggest other sources, but they cannot do the research for you. If you need further assistance the library staff can refer you to a professional genealogist who will help you for a fee.

Familia: Hylocomiaceae ⇾Genus: Rhytidiadelphus • goose neck moss ⇾Species: Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus – rough goose neck moss

Genus name: Rhytidiadelphus • フサゴケ属• fusa goke

The name Rhytidiadelphus is based on two Greek words: the Greek rhytis, meaning wrinkle and the Greek adelphos, meaning brother.  There is another moss named Rhytidium: some people think Rhytidiadelphus means brother of Rhytidium, and others say Rhytidiadelphus means wrinkled brother, or wrinkled brotherhood.

About genus: Rhytidiadelphus, goose neck or “feather mosses,” are large (about 10 cm) robust mosses, in which the shoots are erect to lying along the ground (procumbent.) The stems are usually long and irregularly branched, resembling a feather. The leaves are broad at the base, gradually or abruptly narrowing to a sharply pointed tip; each leaf may have a short double nerve, or it may be nerveless. The seta (capsule’s stalk) is deep red and smooth.

The genus  contains 4-5 Species (+ several variations) – their world distribution:

 Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus (rough goose neck moss) – is known to occur in Northern
Hemisphere, but also Eurasia (Europe & Asia) and New Zealand.
 Rhytidiadelphus loreus (goose neck or lanky moss) – North America, Europe and some
Atlantic Islands
 Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (square goose neck moss) – North America, Eurasia, New
Zealand and Tasmania, plus some Atlantic Islands
 Rhytidiadelphus subpinnatus  — North America and Eurasia
 Rhytidiadelphus japonicum (Japanese goose neck moss) – occurs on all 4 big islands in
Japan, as well as on the Aleutian Islands.

2/16/17 – Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus – next to a 2″ toothpick – you can see  its characteristic bushy appearance and bent tip

Species description: Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus is also knows as rough goose neck moss, bigshaggy moss, and because of its fuzzy appearance and tail-like shape it is also called the ‘electrified cat’s tail moss’.

オウフサゴケ • the genus name is fusa goke. The species name is the same except for the first two characters, which are Romanized as ‘o-u’, meaning ‘large’ fuss goke. It grows on Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku.

The Latin species name refers to the triangular shape of the leaves and the occasional three-rowed arrangement of the uppermost leaves of some stems.

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus is a bushy, shaggy moss with long, branching shoots giving it somewhat untidy appearance. The branch leaves have two weak veins extending to over half of the length. The drawn-out tip is toothed.

2/17/17 – R. triquetrus in a pot: green, fuzzy leaves on red stems

It has a pleurocarpous (spreading) growth and forms pale yellow-green, loose mats of coarse, interwoven, sub-erect, branched shoots in which the strongly divergent leaves form bristly shoot tips. The stem is red, while the leaves are yellow-green in color. Sporophytes are red-brown when mature and maturation typically occurs in the spring.

Habitat: rough goose neck moss usually grows in well-drained sites in coniferous forests, on cliff shelves and over boulders and logs; occasionally epiphytic on tree trunks. It grows terrestrially on humus-rich substrates and is less common in lowland rainforests. It is often the dominating moss species in moderately rich forest habitats in the boreal regions and the PNW.

Distribution: Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus is known to occur mostly in Northern Hemisphere (north America and Europe), but also some places in Asia and New Zealand.

In North America across the boreal portion of Canada and Alaska, southward in the east in mountains to the southern Appalachians and Arkansas, in the west to California.

In Washington State, there are four species of Rhytidiadelphus: Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Rhytidiadelphus loreus, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus  and Rhytidiadelphus subpinnatus.

SJG • 2/14/17 – R. triquetrus (center-R of the pic – bigger, bushy, pale green leaves on red stems)  vs R. squarrous (shorter and more compact, darker green leaves also on red stems)

R. triquetrus vs R. squarrosus: (we have both of those mosses in our garden, mostly in W) R. triquetrus is often conspicuous, with tall, tough, erect stems from which branches arise irregularly to give a bushy habit; the leaves are large and spreading, and capsules are rarely formed. It is found mostly in woodland clearings. R. squarrosus is a smaller moss with rough/scaly (squarrose) leaves; the shoot top tips have a characteristic star-like appearance. It is found in moist grassland and is a common weed in lawns.

SJG notes:

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus mostly grows on the west side of the Tea House Garden (Area W):

SJG • 2/14/17 – Large pale green mat of R. triquetrus near the roji hedge and a smaller patch near the tree base; large Polytrichum commune colony in the middle. Note the strands of Rhytidiadelphus on top of Polytrichum. R. triquetrus will become darker as it gets more sun later in the year.

1.) It forms a robust irregular large (2-3 m diameter) lush mat, rather loosely woven, behind Machiai, but often ‘jumps’ on top of the neighboring colony of Polytrichum commune (prized cryptomeria/sugi moss), from which is continuously weeded out, so it does not choke it.

2.) In roji proper, also on the west side, between stepping-stones and the fence – it forms longish and much more dense mat of very shaggy and carpet-like appearance. Unlike the path behind Machiai, this mat is strongly attached to soil.

SJG • 2/14/17 – Up close of the photo above:  R. triquetrus ‘jumping’ on top of nearby Polytrichum commune colony

So far it was not found in any other parts of the garden.

_ _ _

Polish species name of Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus is fałdownik trzyrzędowy (listed as under partial protection plant in Poland* – see link below)




References and related reading:

* – Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus was under protection in Poland in 200-2004, but not on a current protection list.

• Nice entry on the R. triquetrus from University of British Colombia blog

• Clear macro photos of the plant from Pbase (crowd-sourced photo galleries)

• Up-close pic of R. triquetrus moss + a drawing of typical leaf with 2 costas (veins) and toothed tip from Mosses & Liverworts of the Outer Hebrides (UK)

• This research paper from New Zealand describes HYLOCOMIACEAE family there, including Rhytidiadelphus genus (2 species).  Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus grows only in one locality in  New Zealand (St Arnaud), but it’s invasive and managed/eradicated by raking and burning the larger colonies in order to preserve existing montane forest ecosystem.

Literary reference – a moss tourist note:

‘The Magical World of Moss Gardening’ by Annie Martin has a chapter (page 44) about the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, WA. Part of this 150-acre woodland reserve  is designed as the moss garden, which is considered the largest in North America with more than 40 species of bryophytes that thrive in PNW climate. The author writes that ‘R. triquetrus adorn weathered tree stumps’ and points out where to look for other mosses.   So, if you are visiting Seattle Japanese Garden in person, maybe you can hop on a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island and visit Bloedel Reserve – it’s about 7 miles from the ferry dock terminal on the other side of the water, and besides having the moss garden part it also contains the Japanese Garden part.

Like this:


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