Spiridens reinwardtii (PROSEA)
- Protologue: Nov. Act. Ac. Leop. Car. 11(1): 143 (1823).
- Family: Spiridentaceae
- Chromosome number: 2n= unknown
Spiridens longifolius Lindb. (1865).
- Philippines: lumot-kahoy (Tagalog)
Origin and geographic distribution
S. reinwardtii is widespread in Java, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, The Philippines, New Guinea and parts of Oceania.
S. reinwardtii is used as a binding material in some parts of the Philippines. Around Mount Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea, it is used together with another large moss, Dawsonia (3), by indigenous people to decorate their head gear and body wear. It is also used as filler between wood posts or shingles forming the wall and roof of local huts. As an accessory plant growing on the same substrate, S. reinwardtii is sold in some plant shops in the Philippines together with Lycopodium as ornamental plants.
A large dioecious moss, tufted, with short rhizomatous creeping stem, with numerous rhizoids, secondary stems and branches erect to almost pendant, up to 30 cm long, sometimes even longer, densely foliate, bright yellowish-green. Leaves stiff, widely spreading, lanceolate, up to 14 mm × 2 mm, long acuminate, with single, long protruding midrib; leaf margins markedly differentiated, strongly serrate; basal leaf cells long and linear, upper ones small, hexagonal, with thick cell walls, smooth. Sporophytes lateral, with a short seta 1-3 mm long, subtended by the leaves. Capsule narrowly ovoid, slightly curved, up to 5 mm long; peristome teeth in 2 rows, up to 3 mm long; operculum with conical lid and slender beak. Spores papillose, green at maturity.
S. reinwardtii commonly grows on trunks of trees, often of tree ferns, in moist mountain forests. Its presence can be taken to indicate the broad transition zone between lowland and montane rain forests where high relative humidity persists. Its ability to survive severe forest fire was observed on Mount Kitanglad, Mindanao Island (the Philippines) when the burnt population started after a year to produce new shoots from the creeping rhizomes embedded in the adventitious root mats of the trunk of tree ferns.
Management Attempts to grow S. reinwardtii as a garden plant in the lowland or in a city environment have not been successful perhaps due to the lack of high relative humidity.
S. reinwardtii is widespread and locally common, and not much collected specifically, and it seems not threatened as long as its main habitat, i.e. the transition zone between lowland and montane rain forest with tree ferns, is not destroyed on a large scale.
It is unlikely that the use of S. reinwardtii will increase because it is not much in demand and difficult to bring under cultivation.
- Bartram, E.B., 1939. Mosses of the Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science 68: 1-437.
- Fleischer, M., 1902-1904. Die Musci der Flora von Buitenzorg [Musci of the flora of Buitenzorg]. Vol. 2. E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. pp. 633-637.
- van Zanten, B.O., 1973. A taxonomic revision of the genus Dawsonia R. Brown. Lindbergia 2: 1-48.
Benito C. Tan