Plate 1 2 3
Populations densely packed in hummock-like patches in continuously wet, high elevation habitats. Plants robust, 2-3 cm long, 4-6 mm wide, sub erect, often recurved to falcate, mostly simple, occasionally pseudodichotomously branched, less often with ventral exogenous branches, green to yellowish green at the apices but becoming ochraceous or vinaceous to roseus in the older parts, sometimes a reddish-brown. Leaves erect to sub erect, densely imbricate, succubous, with a long line of insertion extending from The antical leaf base inserted on the ventral stem surface to the postical leaf base inserting nearly to the midline of the dorsal stem surface, not decurrent, polystratose in the lower half, 4-6 cells thick at the base gradating into one cell thick in the upper half, broadly reniform, 2.5-3.5 mm long, mostly 4-6 mm wide, pluriplicate to rucked with 4-6 plicae, more on vigorous plants, the long outer margin undulate, unequally lobed to sinuate, sparingly dentate, with the cells of the leaf margin quadrate, 38-46 µm in diameter, median leaf cells longer than broad and 5 or 6 angled, from 50-60 µm in width by 75-120 µm in length, the cell walls thin, trigones lacking, oil bodies small, less than 2 µm in diameter, homogeneous, numerous, more than 20 per cell. Stems massive, flattened dorsally, convex ventrally, undifferentiated in cross section but with the dorsal epidermal cells bulging slightly, in longitudinal section the upper epidermal cells shorter and broader than the cortical cells. Rhizoids rufescent to bright rosy-red, tortuous, forming dense mats along the ventral stem surface, relatively short, to 2 mm in length. Dioicous, dimorphic, with male plants slightly smaller than female plants. Antheridia scattered along the dorsal stem surface near the apex, numerous, crowded, maturation mixed, never acropetal or basipetal, globose, cream colored or whitish maturing to yellowish, with the stalk 4-10 cells long, 4-6-seriate, perigonial scales and paraphyses wanting. Archegonia unknown. Pseudoperianth campanulate, with the mouth crisped to undulate, incurved to form a somewhat constricted mouth, with the segments acute to mucronate, pseudoperianths producing several superficial scale-like outgrowths scattered on the upper regions, inserted with the upper portion of the calyptra on a basal stalk of stem origin, with the stalk 2.0-2.6 mm long, mature pseudoperianths exerted only slightly beyond the leaves, older pseudoperianths with spent sporophytes becoming turbinate with a more truncate, flaccid mouth. Capsule dark reddish brown to blackish brown, shortly ellipsoidal to obovoid, ca 1.6 mm long x ca 1.3 mm in diameter, with the wall 2(-3)-layered, the epidermal cells lacking pigmented thickening bands, the inner layer(s) with semiannular wall thickenings, dehiscence irregular, never valvate but with the basal half persistent on the seta. Seta green when immature, massive, undifferentiated, 15-20 cells in diameter, elongating to 10-15 mm. Foot small, globose. Spores reddish brown, (31- )35-39 µm in diameter, with optical microscopy the distal face appearing lamellate, with the lamellae somewhat vermiform and truncate, in SEM micrographs the triradiate ridge distinct, the distal face with bluntly echinate lamellae from 3.0-4.1 µm in height, with the greatest heights occurring at the point of juncture between lamellae, the lamellae tapering from a broad base on the spore surface outward to a narrow ridge, imperfect areolae occasional due to thin connections between lamellae, the proximal surface comprised of 3 triangular faces, with closely packed deltate cristae, 3.5-4.2 µm in height, with a granulate fine structure on both proximal and distal intervening surfaces. Elaters simple or occasionally forked, 9.6-11.6 µm wide, (142-)175-212 µm long, bispiral, occasionally trispiraled in part, with the wall surface smooth. Asexual reproduction unknown; tubers unknown.
Figure 1-8. 1 Shoot from the type collection of Fossombronia peruviana Gottsche & Hampe, showing furcations. 2 The páramo of the Sierra Nevada range of the Venezuelan Andes where F. peruviana was collected in a wet seep along the burro trail to Los Nevados. 3 Close up view of an F. peruvinana population, mixed with mosses and other hepatics. 4 Male plant, dorsal view. 5 Female plant, with sporophyte, bearing a shortly ellipsoidal capsule and massive, green seta. 6 Median leaf cells, with numerous, small homogenous oil bodies. 7 Female plant in which the oboviod capsule has been elevated above the surrounding vegetation by the seta. 8 Surface views of the inner capsule walls, showing the predominant pattern of U-type thickenings.