Scientific Name: Entosthodon rubiginosus
Taxonomy Group: Mosses
Range: British Columbia, Saskatchewan
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2017
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Image of Rusty Cord-moss
Rusty Cord Moss is a small, light- to medium-green moss measuring 2 to 3 mm in height. This species grows as individual stems or in small clumps. Leaves are broad and grow close together at the top of an erect stem. In a natural setting, it is hard to spot this inconspicuous plant since it is often hidden among other moss species. Sporophytes are common in British Columbia. These stems are tipped with organs that produce spores that form new individuals when they germinate. Spores are contained in erect, pear-shaped capsules that are brownish red to brownish yellow when mature, which explains the reference to “rusty” in this species’ common name.
Distribution and Population
Rusty Cord Moss is native to western North America. It occurs sporadically in southern British Columbia, Montana, Arizona and New Mexico. In Canada, the species has been located in four sites in south-central British Columbia: the White Lake area in the southern Okanagan Valley and the areas southeast of Princeton, northeast of Kamloops and south of Riske Creek in the Cariboo forest region. Rusty Cord Moss is uncommon in all its known sites. It occurs only in a limited number of clumps measuring less than one square centimetre (each of these clumps is considered an individual). The current Canadian population is estimated to contain a total of 24 individuals. It is impossible at this time to define trends for this population.
In Canada, this species lives on a narrow strip of shoreline dominated by grasses and other mosses in seasonally wet alkaline habitats. The habitat is alkaline due to the minerals left in the soil following the evaporation of water during the warmest months. Rusty Cord Moss grows in the silt- or clay-rich soils found along the edges of ponds, lakes and mud flats, or on seepage slopes in environments that are otherwise relatively dry. While damp, alkaline environments number in the hundreds in British Columbia, there seem to be only a few that are suitable for Rusty Cord Moss.
Sporophytes are common in Canadian Rusty Cord Moss populations. In British Columbia, these spore-producing stems typically remain visible until fall, even though the moss leaves tend to dry out and become inconspicuous. This species matures in late winter and spring. Spores probably play a key role in short-range dispersal, particularly towards open areas. It is generally believed that Rusty Cord Moss is a short-lived species, although it may be perennial; or it may, at the very least, survive for a few years in a natural environment. In fact, there are many small buds on this plant’s underground stems that seem to survive from one year to the next.
The main threat to Rusty Cord Moss is, in all likelihood, the trampling of its habitat by animals. Two populations have been trampled by horses and cattle and all of the sites that have been inspected show signs of various degrees of damage caused by domestic animals. Extended periods of drought could also threaten Rusty Cord Moss. The past few years have been particularly dry in the British Columbia interior and this may have led to a population decline.
Federal ProtectionMore information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
This species is not protected under any provincial law in British Columbia.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Rusty Cord-moss (Entosthodon rubiginosus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
BC Bryophyte Recovery Team
Brenda Costanzo - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
Phone: 250-387-9611 Fax: 250-356-9145 Send Email
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2005 (2005)2005 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
- Date modified: