Lesser Yoke-moss - Zygodon conoideus


There are four similar Zygodon species and they are difficult to reliably distinguish from each other without checking under a microscope. They all form small (usually up to 1 cm tall), light green tufts and patches. The shortly pointed leaves are held at a wide angle from the stem when moist, giving the plants a characteristically neat appearance. Dry leaves become lightly twisted and appressed to the stem, considerably altering the appearance of shoots. Leaves are typically 1.5 to 2 mm long, nerved, widest near the middle, and narrow rather abruptly at the tip. Gemmae are normally produced amongst the leaf axils, but only become discernible under a microscope. Capsules are infrequent in Zygodon viridissimus, they are pale yellowish-brown, egg-shaped, borne on a seta 6 to 10 mm long, and produced in spring and summer.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

To identify Zygodon to species level it is necessary to look at their gemmae with a microscope. If possible submit an image of the gemmae under magnification.


Grows on the wood of various broad-leaved trees.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent 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