Species Profile

Poor Pocket Moss

Scientific Name: Fissidens pauperculus
Taxonomy Group: Mosses
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered

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

Image of Poor Pocket Moss

Poor Pocket Moss Photo 1



The Poor Pocket Moss is distinguished by its minute size: there are 3-5 pairs of leaves 1.5-2.3 mm long and 0.3-0.4mm wide. The seta (stalks) are yellow, reddish with age, and 2-3 (5) mm long.


Distribution and Population

The species is a western North American endemic (only found in western North America). The main portion of its range is in California and southwestern Oregon. There are also isolated occurrences in northwestern Washington and southwestern British Columbia. There are less than 20 known locations globally. In Canada, there is only one known population, which is located in North Vancouver, in southwestern British Columbia. It consists of one patch covering approximately 625 cm2. There is no information on population trends.



The single Canadian population occurs in a Douglas-fir/Western Hemlock forest . The species grows on a wet silty outcrop in a streamlet. In the major part of its range, the species is associated with coastal Redwood forests.



There is little known about the biology of the Poor Pocket Moss. The species is monoicous (male and female reproductive structures on same plant), and the Canadian population produces spores regularly. Thus the species can potentially disperse into nearby suitable habitats.



The single population of Poor Pocket Moss is vulnerable to chance events and climate change due to its extremely limited distribution. A series of two or three hot, dry summers could completely dry out the substrate on which the species depends.



Federal Protection

The Poor Pocket 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.

The single Canadian population occurs within a city park managed as a public nature park by the City of North Vancouver.

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 Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry


Recovery Team

Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team

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


Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date The draft recovery strategy has been completed and only one population of the Poor Pocket Moss is known to exist in Canada. Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities This site was visited five times since 2003, once in 2004, and three times in 2005. Two patches of the moss were observed in 2003, none were observed in early 2005 following a severe rain event, and six patches were observed during a survey in July, 2005. These latter six patches ranged in size from about 1-2 cm2 (three patches) to 6 cm2 (two patches), to about 40 cm2 (one patch at the original location).


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.

5 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Poor Pocket Moss (2011)

    This western North American endemic reaches its northern range limit at a single, isolated Canadian locality in southwestern British Columbia. Here, it occurs as several small colonies within a geographically restricted area, making the Canadian population especially vulnerable to human disturbance and events such as unusually heavy local rainfall, erosion, and treefall.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus) in Canada (2010)

    The poor pocket moss was listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) as Endangered in June 2003. SARA section 37 requires the competent Minister to prepare a recovery strategy for all listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The British Columbia Ministry of Environment led the development of this recovery strategy for the species in cooperation with Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Pacific and Yukon Region. All responsible jurisdictions reviewed and provided support for posting this recovery strategy. In the spirit of cooperation of the Accord, the Government of British Columbia has given permission to the Government of Canada to adopt the Recovery Strategy for the Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus M. Howe) in British Columbia (Appendix 2) under Section 44 of the Species at Risk Act. Environment Canada has included an addition which completes the SARA requirements for this recovery strategy, and excludes the section on Socio-economic Considerations which is not required by the Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.