The Hedwigiaceae are a family of 4 genera of rock-inhabiting pleurocarpous mosses. They are coarse, rigid, and monoicous plants with curved-ascendant stems and branches. The leaves lack costae and have short, thick-walled, and papillose cells. Their frequently produced capsules lack a peristome. The generic names Hedwigia and Hedwigidium both commemorate the 18th century German botanist Johannes Hedwig, often referred to as the “Father of Bryology”. Both Hedwigia and Hedwigidium are small genera of wide and predominantly temperate distribution; each is represented in N.Z. by a single species. They occur on rock in the drier and more easterly portions of the main islands. The largest genus in the family, Braunia, has a tropical distribution and does not occur regionally. While the relationships and circumscription of the family remain controversial, recent morphological studies have shown that all members have unusual globular, rather than filamentous, protonemata.
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