Pellucid Four-tooth Moss - Tetraphis pellucida


Forms rather short (up to 1.5 cm), upright tufts or loose, wide patches composed of slender, delicate, individual shoots. Moist patches are yellow-green, but they take on a slightly bluish-green metallic sheen when dry. The leaves are held away from the stem when moist – the lower leaves are 1 mm or a little longer, circular to egg- shaped, often irregularly shaped and distant, those above are up to 2 mm long, more crowded, narrowly egg-shaped – and have a shortly pointed tip and plane, entire margins. The nerve ends well below the tip. Non-fertile shoot tips often have gemma cups formed from larger, crowded leaves, within which sit many disc-shaped gemmae. Fertile shoots have longer, narrower, more densely set leaves and are distinct in appearance. Cylindrical capsules, on a seta to about 15 mm long, are uncommon, but may be locally frequent. The peristome of only 4 triangular teeth is very distinctive.

Identification difficulty

A species of dry but usually humid, acidic substrates, more frequently found on well-rotted stumps and wood. It sometimes grows on living trees, particularly in wet alder (Alnus) woodland, more rarely on purple moor-grass (Molinia) tussocks and peaty woodland banks. It may also be frequent to abundant on sheltered Millstone Grit in woodlands, where populations consisting largely of protonemal flaps occur in damp, deep shade.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Briatain.

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