Glittering Wood-moss - Hylocomium splendens


This glossy, bright green, robust moss has regularly arranged, branched branches (bipinnate) and a red stem. Shoots are several to 10 or even 20 cm long. A ‘flight of steps’ appearance to the shoots is a consequence of varying rates of growth during successive seasons from a bud behind the shoot tip. Stem leaves are quite large, 2.5 to 3 mm long, and oval with a long, tapering tip. Branch leaves are smaller (1 mm long), more concave and have a shorter tip. Both types of leaf have a short, double nerve (or may lack a nerve) and sharply toothed margins in the upper half. Under a hand lens, the stems and branches appear furry owing to the presence of branched filaments. Capsules are generally uncommon, but occasional in parts of south Wales and may be overlooked.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required. If the photo doesn't show the key ID features then in the comments box describe the size and identifying characters you have observed.


Whilst usually occurring in acidic habitats, it may sometimes be found in well-leached chalk grassland.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

H. splendens is common in Britain and may be abundant amongst grass and heather on heaths and moorlands and in acidic woodlands.

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