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It grows in tufts or patches, with stems mostly 1 to 3 cm tall. Dry plants usually have corkscrew-like shoots, with leaves spirally twisted around the stem. However, in some populations the dry shoots have leaves that are straight or only slightly twisted. The broad leaves are 2 to 5 mm 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. The large (3.5 to 5 mm long), cylindrical, drooping capsules ripen in spring and summer, and are borne on reddish setae.
Typical habitats include base-rich to slightly acidic soils, grasslands, woodland rides, soil banks and waste ground. However, it just as readily grows on trees, logs, fences, walls, roofs and rocks.
All year round.
Common and widespread in Britain.
Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland.
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