Monographs Details: Cryphaea
Authority: Buck, William R. 1998. Pleurocarpous mosses of the West Indies. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 82: 1-400.
Description:Genus Description - Plants slender to medium-sized, in mostly bright- to dark-green, sometimes golden, mostly thin but sometimes extensive, epiphytic colonies. Primary stems creeping, very slender, inconspicuous, with reduced, scale-like leaves, turning ca. 90° and becoming the secondary stem, the creeping stem continuing by a bud from near the base of the secondary stem, secondary stems usually erect, simple or more often branched, not complanate-foliate; in cross-section without a hyalodermis, with small thick-walled cells surrounding larger firm- to thick-walled cells, central strand none; paraphyllia none; pseudoparaphyllia usually filamentous, sometimes foliose; axillary hairs with 1-2 short brown basal cells and 2 to several short or elongate hyaline distal cells. Secondary stem and branch leaves usually similar but sometimes branch leaves considerably smaller, usually appressed when dry, sometimes with flexuose apices, rapidly spreading to wide-spreading when moist, lanceolate to ovate, acute to long-acuminate, concave, sometimes plicate, decurrent; margins subentire to coarsely serrate above, mostly entire below, plane throughout to recurved below; costa single, prominent, ending near midleaf to subpercurrent, rarely excurrent; cells usually oval, smooth or prorulose at upper ends, firm-walled, sometimes longer in the acumen and near the insertion juxtacostally; alar cells poorly differentiated from median cells, numerous, often in more obvious rows and less rounded. Asexual propagula none. Autoicous; perigonia lateral, small and inconspicuous, with bracts ovate, concave and ecostate. Perichaetia conspicuous, terminating short lateral shoots but appearing lateral on secondary stems and branches; leaves strongly differentiated, sometimes pale, usually oblong-obovate, mostly abruptly awned, the awn usually spinose and sometimes as long as or longer than the lamina; margins entire to serrulate at the shoulders, plane; costa often lacking except as the awn, sometimes extending to the leaf base; cells homogeneous and oval or the apical cells short and the basal ones elongate, smooth or prorulose. Setae very short, smooth; capsules immersed, erect and symmetric, broadly to narrowly ovoid-cylindric, the seta attachment often indented and the urn base pouch-like below that level; exothecial cells mostly short-rectangular to quadrate, thin-walled; annulus revoluble, of several layers of thick-walled cells; operculum high-conic to short-rostrate, the rostrum straight; peristome double (or rarely single extralimitally), inserted below the mouth, pale, papillose-spiculose throughout, the exostome teeth linear-triangular, not bordered or shouldered, on the front surface with a ± straight median line, not trabeculate at back; endostome with a very low or absent basal membrane, segments linear, not or scarcely keeled, not perforate, shorter than or almost as long as the teeth, cilia none. Spores ± spherical, finely papillose. Calyptrae conic-mitrate or split up one side, naked, smooth or roughened by projecting upper cell ends.
Discussion:Discussion. Cryphaea is characterized by unicostate leaves with short median cells that gradually grade into scarcely differentiated alar cells. The sporophytes appear to be produced laterally but in fact terminate very short branches. The capsules are immersed in greatly differentiated perichaetial leaves and the peristome is typically double. The calyptra is conic and generally mitrate. The plants typically grow on tree trunks and branches at median elevations in mesic forests in relatively high light areas.
When material is sterile there is a possibility of confusion with Macrocoma because of similarities in leaf orientation (appressed when dry and spreading when moist) and areolation (oval cells). Macrocoma, though, usually has stiffer plants and lanceolate leaves. The leaf cells are often bulging but not prorulose, and are in obvious rows throughout the leaf because of the thicker walls. Fertile material is easily separated by the exserted capsules and hairy calyptrae.
The name Cryphaea is usually credited to Mohr, in Weber (1813). However, in Weber’s key—where the genus is actually described—it is listed as “Cryphaea Web.” Additionally, Weber stated that Mohr (1806) used the names Cryphaea and Ptychodes as subdivisions of Neckera. I can find no such reference to the name Cryphaea in Mohr’s article. I thus see no reason to continue Mohr’s association with the generic name.