Many-fruited Leskea - Leskea polycarpa


This slender moss forms dull, dark yellow-green, irregularly branched patches and tufts, in which short, curved or nearly upright branches up to about 4 mm long (although mats can be 2 to 3 cm across) arise from prostrate primary stems. Plants are often covered with silt. The crowded leaves are about twice as long as wide (about 1 mm or less long, 0.5 mm wide), held pointing away from the stem, and change little when dry. The nerve is well-developed in the lower half of the leaf, but disappears in mid-leaf. Cylindrical capsules are usually abundant in summer. They are about 3 mm long – 4 times longer than wide – and held erect or slightly inclined to the vertical. Setae are about 1 cm long, and arise from the primary stems, not from the branches.

Identification difficulty

L. polycarpa characteristically grows on the branches, trunks and exposed roots of trees in the flood zones of lowland rivers, streams, and ditches, and beside standing water, particularly where mud from flooding water coats the trees. It may also grow on stones, woodwork and brickwork. Occasionally it may be found away from water courses, for example on willows in moderately humid places or in the tops of hedges.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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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