Members of the Splachnaceae are morphologically attractive species which produce unattractive odours and grow on unattractive substrates, usually decaying faeces and animal carcasses. They are unique among mosses for having symbiotic relationships with flies (dipterans) that facilitate spore dispersal. The capsules of many, probably most, species produce volatile substances attracting spore-dispersing flies. All of the species occurring in New Zealand produce such odours. The sporophytes are often highly coloured and have a modified “hypophysis” of sterile tissue that is often dramatically enlarged. The family is interpreted taxonomically to include six or seven genera of which one, Tayloria, is represented in N.Z. by four species. All of our species are restricted to the southern hemisphere. One, T. purpurascens (Hook.f. & Wilson) Broth., is thought to be endemic to N.Z.; the other three are shared with Tasmania, with one of these occurring also in mainland Australia and cooler parts of South America.
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