The Hylocomiaceae are widely distributed in temperate to cold parts of the northern hemisphere and in some tropical highlands. In addition two genera and three species of Hylocomiaceae have been documented from New Zealand. No sporophytes for any of these dioicous species have been found regionally. Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and R. triquetrus are both clearly adventive. The former occurs widely on the west coast of the South Island in roughly-mown areas such as road verges. Nearly all N.Z. material of this species is female but a few male plants have been recorded from the Haast area, suggesting that two introductions of this species probably occurred. Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus appears to be actively expanding its range in the South I. and the lack of records from wetter parts of the North I. is surprising. Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus is known only from several well-documented collections from St Arnaud in Nelson Lakes N.P. Only male plants of this species have been found there. Attempts have been made to eliminate this potentially invasive species but further survey work is required to determine whether complete eradication has been achieved. Hylocomium splendens is recorded only from seven high-elevation North I. sites. It is treated here as an indigenous species but several features of its occurrence including a lack of early historical collections, the unisexual (female) nature of its populations, and the otherwise exclusively northern hemisphere distribution of both it and its allies are perplexing. Also perplexing is that this species, one of the most abundant terrestrial species in the boreal coniferous forests of the northern hemisphere, appears to be fully integrated into undisturbed alpine vegetation here.
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