magellanicum: All mosses belong to the class Musci, which is divided into 3 subclasses, the first of which is the
Sphagnidae. The plentiful Sphagnum mosses blanket the northern wetlands with springy,
water-swollen hummocks. Having no rhizoids, but packed in support of each other, they move slowly upward, with some outward branching. They require and create a very acid environment in which few other forms of life survive. Consequently, the discarded growth below the surface does not decompose, but becomes compacted into peat.
rupestris: The second subclass is Andreaidae, which like Sphagnum, has only one family and one genus. (The third subclass,
Bryidae, includes all other mosses.) Hard to find, it forms small unobtrusive scabs on boreal and alpine acid rock. The scabs contain tiny plants that will appear more dead than alive. It is the unusual capsule that sets it apart from all other moss. Instead of shedding spores from the capsule tip, it splits along four vertical lines on the capsule, and depending on your fancy, ends up looking like a Chinese lantern, or gyroscope.