Species Profile

Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss

Scientific Name: Pterygoneurum kozlovii
Taxonomy Group: Mosses
Range: British Columbia, Saskatchewan
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2004
Last COSEWIC Designation: Threatened
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss


There are four Pterygoneurum species in Canada: P. kozlovii, P. lamellatum, P. ovatum and P. subsessile. The main feature that differentiates the Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss from the three other species is the fact that its mature capsules are immersed and lack a lid to allow the release of spores. (Updated 2008/05/20)



Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss is a fairly inconspicuous moss that grows in small to medium-sized tufts, or forms widespread, yet intermittent, turfs. The leaves are light or yellowish green and measure approximately 1 mm in length. Leaf edges may be somewhat curved and the slightly toothed apex tapers abruptly. The mid-rib is light brown and is covered by two or three small flaps that are characteristic of this species. Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss has female structures at the tip of its main stems, which measure 2 to 3 mm in height. The spores are contained within hood-like capsules that are split along one side and measure between 0.8 and 1 mm in length. These capsules ripen from late fall to spring and often lend golden brown hues to fertile plants. (Updated 2008/05/20)


Distribution and Population

Worldwide, the Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss occurs sporadically in western North America, central Europe and western Asia. In North America, the species only occurs in Western Canada, in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.   In 2002, the presence of this species could only be confirmed in 13 of the 24 documented sites in south-central British Columbia, and there was only one unconfirmed site in Saskatchewan. Six of the British Columbia sites may have disappeared as the result of urbanization, the extension of a highway or trampling by livestock. Grazing and human activity threaten about half of the known sites.   The Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss is considered rare to uncommon in most of its areas of occurrence and common in only three areas. Population sizes are unknown and trends are uncertain, but four populations may be declining. (Updated 2008/05/20)



Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss occurs only in seasonally wet alkaline soils. The species is most commonly found in narrow strips around wetlands in flat or very slightly sloped areas. It grows only in open areas along the edges of ponds, lakes, mud flats and seepage slopes where the vegetation is short and patchy. It is generally found amongst grasses and sedges.   While damp, alkaline environments number in the hundreds in British Columbia, there only seem to be a few that are suitable for Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss. (Updated 2008/05/20)



Sporophytes are common in Canadian Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss populations. The spores they produce likely play a key role in the maintenance of local populations and the dispersal of the species, particularly towards nearby open areas. Given their size, it is highly unlikely that the wind carries the spores over long distances; however, it is quite likely that they are carried by flowing water, insects or birds. In addition, the fact that the capsules are immersed may limit spore dispersal to a certain extent, but this does protect the spores in the summertime during the dry period. Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss should probably be considered a perennial species due to the presence of small buds on its underground stems and to the fact that, in certain sites, it has been found in the same location as in earlier years. Vegetative reproduction is, in all likelihood, important to population maintenance and to this species’ expansion over short distances. (Updated 2008/05/20)



The major limiting factor and threat to Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss appears to be the trampling of its habitat by animals (usually cattle, but sometimes horses and domestic animals as well).   Grazing, urbanization, road construction and the recreational use of habitats, particularly for ATVs, have all played a role in the disappearance of several populations.   Long periods of drought could also threaten this species. The past few years have been particularly dry in the British Columbia interior and this may have led to a population decline. (Updated 2008/05/20)



Federal Protection

The Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss in British Columbia and Saskatchewan is not protected under any provincial law. (Updated 2008/05/20)

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss (Pterygoneurum kozlovii Laz.) in BC
Status Recovery team/planner in place


Recovery Team

BC Bryophyte Recovery Team

  • Brenda Costanzo - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 250-387-9611  Fax: 250-356-9145  Send Email



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Alkaline Wing-nerved Moss (2005)

    This species, restricted in North America to western Canada, is globally imperiled or rare. Canada possesses the great majority of documented locations. The species typically grows on soil among grasses and sedges along the margins of alkaline ponds and sloughs in semi-arid regions of Canada. It has been confirmed at only 13 sites from 24 reported in south central British Columbia. There is one unconfirmed site in Saskatchewan. About half of all the known sites are subject to impacts from people and domestic animals. Of the British Columbia sites, 6 have apparently been lost to urban development, highway improvement, and trampling by cattle, implying that decline in habitat quality and extent are presently impacting the species.


COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2005 (2005)

    2005 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: November 2005 (2005)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update March 31, 2017