Ceratodon purpureus (ceratodon moss, purple horn toothed moss, redshank)

description: dioicous moss

place of origin: unknown; found throughout temperate regions world including in parts of Antarctica; possibly replaced by related species in tropical latitudes.

urban habitat: commonly found in industrial areas and in disturbed sites, along roadsides, in pavement openings, on tailings in coal and heavy metal mining sites; capable of growing in a wide variety of substrates including rock, wood, humus, roofing, concrete; thrives in bright sunlight in sandy soils but is cold, salt, shade, pollution and pest tolerant.

ecological function: pioneer species, colonizer of burnt areas; tolerant of heavy metal contamination; capable of using nitrogen in soil as an energy source; erosion control; food for some species of insects.

history: Ceratodon purpureus has been used as a model organism for plant photosynthesis research and as a system to discover novel genes because of its ability to tolerate induced mutations. By sequencing the Ceratodon purpureus genome, researchers hope to identify genes that provide tolerance to high levels of heavy metal contamination and to provide insight into the evolution of land plants.