Monographs Details: Meteorium
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 robust, in green to golden to red-brown, often black-tinged, soft to stiff, pendent colonies. Stems initially creeping and then becoming pendent, irregularly branched to pinnate, the branches erect to pendent, terete-foliate; in cross-section with small thick-walled cells surrounding large thin-walled cells, central strand small, of small cells; pseudoparaphyllia foliose; axillary hairs with 1-3 short brown basal cells and several short hyaline distal cells. Stem and branch leaves similar but stem leaves somewhat larger, mostly erect when dry, sometimes spreading, unaltered or spreading when moist, inserted in a straight line ± perpendicular to the stem, lanceolate to oblong-ovate, mostly acuminate, sometimes hairpointed, sometimes concave, ± plicate, from an expanded, ± cordate base; margins subentire to papillose-serrulate, plane to incurved; costa single, slender, ending near midleaf, not projecting at apex; cells short-rhomboidal to linear, 2-10:1, uni- to pluripapillose on both surfaces, when pluripapillose the papillae scattered, thick-walled, becoming longer, thin-walled, and smooth juxtacostally toward the insertion; alar cells mostly few, subquadrate, smooth. Asexual propagula common, of flagellate branches, caducous leaves or plant fragmentation. Dioicous, inflorescences usually on branches. Perichaetial leaves differentiated, larger than vegetative leaves. Setae relatively short, smooth or roughened; capsules exserted, erect, symmetric, ovoid to cylindric; exothecial cells subquadrate to short-rectangular, mostly firm-walled, not collenchymatous; annulus weakly differentiated, sometimes tardily deciduous and fragmenting; operculum obliquely rostrate; peristome attached near the mouth, exostome teeth linear-triangular, on the front surface often with prominent cell boundaries, papillose throughout, not trabeculate at back, endostome with a low basal membrane, segments linear, papillose, ± keeled, not or narrowly perforate, cilia none. Spores spherical, papillose. Calyptrae cucullate, usually hairy.
Discussion:Meteorium (Brid.) Dozy & Molk., Musci Frond. Ined. Archip. Ind. 157. 1848; Pilotrichum [subgen.] Meteorium Brid., Bryol. Univ. 2: 264. 1827.
Neckera sect. Pseudopilotrichum Müll. Hal. subsect. Papillaria Müll. Hal., Syn. Muse. Frond. 2: 134. 1850; Papillaria (Müll. Hal.) Lorentz, Moosstudien 165. 1864; Pilotrichella sect. Papillaria (Müll. Hal.) Besch., Mém. Soc. Sci. Nat. Cherbourg 16: 227. 1872; Meteorium sect. Papillaria (Müll. Hal.) Mitt., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 22: 314. 1886.
Monoschisma Duby, Mém. Soc. Phys. Hist. Nat. Genève 19: 294. 1867.
Tricholepis Kindb., Bot. Centralbl. 77: 52. 1899, nom. rej.
Discussion. Meteorium here includes species traditionally included in Papillaria. The only character that separated the genera was uni- rather than pluripapillose laminal cells. However, some species bridge the separation and the concepts should be merged. A good morphological summary of the genus (sub Papillaria) was recently published by Streimann (1991).
Meteorium is characterized by mostly epiphytic plants with the primary stem initially creeping along bark and then becoming pendent. The branches may or may not become elongate and pendent. The leaves are short-acuminate to hairpointed. The costa is single and pellucid. The cells vary from unipapillose to densely pluripapillose, with papillae scattered over the cells rather than seriately arranged. At present some species still retained in Meteorium (or Papillaria) have seriate leaf papillae, but these need to be evaluated to decide on their generic alliances. Sporophytically, Meteorium has relatively short, smooth to roughened setae, erect capsules, and obliquely rostrate opercula. The peristome is double with the exostome teeth slender and papillose. The calyptra is cucullate and hairy.
In the West Indies, although numerous epithets have been used, we have only three species, and one of them newly described here.