Pointed Spear-moss - Calliergonella cuspidata


    One of our commonest and most recognizable mosses. It is medium sized and grows mixed with other bryophytes, or it forms green, yellow-green or occasionally orange-brown patches. Shoots are commonly 3 to 8 cm long, but sometimes more, and are often red towards the base. The main stem is usually erect and has side branches that are more or less pinnately arranged, the whole shoot having a flattened appearance. The most distinctive field character is the shape of the shoot and branch tips: the leaves are closely rolled-up to form a smooth needle-like or spear-like point. Stem leaves are usually 2 to 2.5 mm long, narrowly egg-shaped, never curved, bluntly rounded at the tip, and with a short, double nerve. They have a strongly differentiated, colourless patch of cells in the basal corners. Branch leaves are smaller, but otherwise similar to the stem leaves.

    Identification difficulty

    C. cuspidata is common in moist, base-rich habitats, such as marshes, mires and flushes, in grassland, and among rocks. On some soils, for example clay, it frequently occurs in lawns. It also occurs in relatively dry places in calcareous habitats, such as chalk and limestone grassland.

    When to see it

    All year round.

    UK Status

    Widespread and frequent throughout Britain

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map