Fox-tail Feather-moss - Thamnobryum alopecurum


This is about the largest of our tree-like mosses (3 to 6 mm tall), and typical plants do indeed resemble miniature trees. The upright stems bear small (less than 2 mm long), triangular, scale like leaves whereas the branches have dark green leaves 1.5 to 2.5 mm long, that are egg-shaped and have an acute tip. The nerve is very robust. Coarse teeth at the tip of the branch leaves are easily visible under a hand lens and, in good light, the rounded leaf cells are visible. Capsules are very occasionally produced.

Identification difficulty

Grows on rocks by streams and rivers, often at or just above the normal water level, and on shaded coastal and inland rocks. It also grows on the ground, coppice stools and tree bases in at least mildly base-rich woodland. Detached balls of T. alopecurum are sometimes found in some quantity on woodland floors.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map