Golden Thread Moss (Pale Ditrichum Moss)

Golden thread moss, or pale ditrichum moss, Ditrichum pallidum, with sporophytes
Scientific Name
Ditrichum pallidum
Ditrichaceae (ditrichum mosses; an acrocarpous moss family)

Golden thread moss forms small, light green or yellowish, rounded, fuzzy-looking hummocks like a cat’s paws. The leaves of this cushion moss are very slender and hairlike at their tips, giving tufts of this species a furry appearance.

One of the most remarkable features of this moss is the extremely long, yellow, almost translucent stalks of the sporophyte. These stalks are so fine and silky looking that you might miss them completely if you don’t approach this moss on your belly. New capsules are green, narrow cylinders and appear in midspring; they and are held erect or slightly slanted (inclined); the spores turn brown and mature in June.

Learn more about Missouri’s mosses on their group page.


Height: Gametophyte stems only to about ¼ inch, but sporophyte stalks (setae) to 1½ inches or longer.

Where To Find


Occurs on relatively dry, bare soil in dry, open woods, especially on ridgetops and roadsides; also fields and sometimes on moist crevices of rocks.

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About Mosses, Liverworts, and Lichens in Missouri

Mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens seem rather similar, but these organisms are in very different groups. Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are small, low plants usually found in damp habitats. Unlike more familiar plants, they lack veinlike structures and do not produce flowers or seeds — instead, they produce spores. Meanwhile, lichens are not plants at all: they are a collection of different fungi that have photosynthetic algae living within their tissues.

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