New York Natural Heritage Program
Flowering Pixiemoss
Pyxidanthera barbulata Michx.
Dicots

General Description [-]
Flowering pixiemoss forms low, up to 1 meter wide, round mats of tiny leaves. The clustered leaves are stiff, oblanceolate, 3-8 mm long with a sharp tip and are light green to reddish turning completely red late in the season. They are usually white-hairy towards the base. The mats produce masses of tiny, 5-petaled, white flowers that are 5-8 mm wide. The flowers are so numerous that, from a distance, the mounds resemble small patches of snow on the ground. The flat stamens stick out from between the bases of the petals and are topped by 2 yellow anther sacs. The small reddish brown capsules break open to release many seeds (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
The plants can be identified vegetatively but should be confirmed in flower or fruit.

Similar Species [-]
There is no other plant that forms mats like this with masses of white flowers. From a distance mounds of hair-cap moss may resemble the mounds of pixiemoss but the leaves are much more narrow and there are no flowers.
Flowering Pixiemoss Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The best time to identify this plant is in early to mid April when its mass of flowers is easily visible.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Vegetative Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Flowering Pixiemoss vegetative (blue shading), flowering (green shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.