Lyell's Bristle-moss - Orthotrichum lyellii


When growing well this is a striking plant, with loose tufts of shoots 3 to 4 cm tall, and dusted all over with brown gemmae. It tends to grow in a characteristic way on tree trunks: sprawling downwards and then curving up at the shoot tip. Poorly grown plants may be less than 1 cm tall, but remain distinctive because of their gemmae and sharply tipped leaves. The leaves are about 3.5 mm long. Capsules are rather rare and have 16 recurved outer peristome teeth.

Identification difficulty

Grows on a wide range of trees, including ash, elm, poplar and sycamore. It reaches its greatest abundance on the trunks of old ash trees in parkland

When to see it

All year round.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread in Britain, but not particularly common.

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