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Arthrodontous capsule of the <a href="/content/Moss" style="color:blue">moss</a> <i>Dicranella varia</i>
Arthrodontous capsule of the moss Dicranella varia

Peristome (from the Greek peri, meaning 'around' or 'about', and stoma, 'mouth') is an anatomical feature that surrounds an opening to an organ or structure. Some plants, fungi, and shelled gastropods have peristomes.

In mosses

In mosses, the peristome is a specialized structure in the sporangium that allows for gradual spore discharge, instead of releasing them all at once.

Most mosses produce a capsule with a lid (the operculum) which falls off when the spores inside are mature and thus ready to be dispersed. The opening thus revealed is called the stoma (meaning "mouth") and is surrounded by one or two peristomes. Each peristome is a ring of triangular "teeth" formed from the remnants of dead cells with thickened cell walls. There are usually 16 such teeth in a single peristome, separate from each other and able to both fold in to cover the stoma as well as fold back to open the stoma. This articulation of the teeth is termed arthrodontous and is found in the moss subclass Bryopsida. In other groups of mosses, the capsule is either nematodontous with an attached operculum (as in the Polytrichopsida), or else splits open without operculum or teeth.

There are two subtypes of arthrodontous peristome.[1]

In pitcher plants

In pitcher plants, the peristome is a reflexed ring (or partial ring) of tissue that surrounds the entrance to the digestive tube in these plants. It often (for example in Cephalotus and Nepenthes) possesses sharp, overhanging 'teeth' which aid in prey retention. It is often studded with nectar secreting glands, hence its popular name, nectar roll.

In fungi

The basidiocarps of some gasteroid fungi - such as puffballs and earthstars - release spores through an apical opening that is termed a peristome and is variously delimited, its features often being diagnostic when distinguishing closely related species.[2]

In shelled gastropods

The peristome is the margin of the aperture of a gastropod shell. It is the edge of the lip of the shell. This part is sometimes reflected (turned back) or thickened once the snail reaches adult size, and these qualities of the peristome can be diagnostic features of the shell which may aid in identification of the species.

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