The Daltoniaceae are a moderately large family of elegant mosses occurring mostly at higher elevations in the tropics and in cooler parts of the southern hemisphere. The family is allied to the Hookeriaceae, and many of the genera have traditionally been placed in that broadly defined family. The genus Daltonia is widespread throughout tropical regions worldwide. The largest genus, Distichophyllum, is mainly distributed in tropical Asia, the islands of the Pacific, and austral regions, including New Zealand. The extraordinarily tiny Ephemeropsis consists largely of a persistent protonema giving rise to campanulate capsules; it occurs on twigs and leaves and is distributed only in N.Z., Tasmania, and Java and its surrounding islands. Several genera of Daltoniaceae are predominantly Australasian in distribution with some species and some small genera are endemic to N.Z. Seven genera, 15 species and 1 variety are accepted in the N.Z. flora.
Some of the most striking and characteristic mosses in the N.Z. flora belong here and some of them are often confused with hepatics. The family is recognised in part by having mostly erect or inclined doubly peristomate capsules in which the exostome teeth usually have a distinct median ‘furrow’ on their outer surface. The exothecial cell walls are usually collenchymatous and the elongate setae are often scabrous or even spiny. The calyptrae are mitrate, fringed at their base, and usually cover only the apex of the developing capsule. The vegetative leaves are mostly singly costate and often bordered by several rows of elongate and thick-walled cells.
|Data last updated||September 12, 2017|
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