Capillary Thread Moss - Bryum capillare
Family - Bryaceae
Photo ©2006 - Andrew Fogg
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Many thanks to Kay Newbury at Reading University for the identification of this moss species - Bryum capillare.
B. capillare in the UK is a very common and widespread moss that grows in green to brownish green tufts or patches, with stems mostly 1-3cm tall, on base-rich to slightly acidic soils, grasslands, woodland rides, soil banks and waste ground, however it will just as readily grows on trees, logs, fences, walls, roofs and rocks. Dry plants usually have corkscrew-like shoots, with leaves which spirally twist around the stem. However, in some populations the dry shoots have leaves that are straight or only slightly twisted.
The broad leaves are 2-5mm (0.08-0.1in) long, and widest at or above the halfway point. The margins are narrowly recurved and have a well-defined border of narrow cells. The nerve extends into a fine, pale green hair point, which can be short or quite long. B. capillare is dioecious with male ♂ plants somewhat smaller than females ♀. Mostly seen in late spring to summer when the abundant pear-shaped green capsules appear, these capsules mature later in the year to a dark brown releasing the spores. The tips of the leaves are narrow and extend into hair-like points. The large (3.5–5 mm long), cylindrical, drooping spore capsules are bent over and hang downwards from the red setae.
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