Growth Form: Acrocarpus
This moss, with vegetative stems trailing along the ground and capsule-bearing stems standing upright, intertwines to form loose, dark green tufts 3-6 cm tall.
Leaves are 5-8 mm long, shiny green to yellow green, tongue-shaped, with rounded apex. Their midrib extends to a point beyond the leaf tip. Sharp teeth run from tip to base along margins having a faint border. Leaf corners extend down onto the stem, alternating in a growth pattern of two neat rows. Leaves cluster into rosettes only on the tops of upright stems.
Myrmecochory is seed dispersal by ants. Myrmecochorous plants produce diaspores, seeds with elaiosomes or external appendages, also known as “food bodies”, rich in lipids, amino acids and various other nutrients. These food bodies attract ants.
Myrmecochory represents a reciprocal or mutually beneficial relationship. While the ant larvae benefit from the rich food produced by the plants, the plants benefit by having their seeds carried farther away than they themselves can drop them, to a microsite that is made rich in nutrients by the ants and provides protection from predators.
Here, a new plant colony is born!