Red-stemmed Feather-moss - Pleurozium schreberi


The loosely pinnate branches and bright red stem showing through translucent green leaves are usually easy to recognize. When dry, the red stems only become visible on wetting, or after scraping leaves off the stem. Shoots are several centimetres long. The leaves, about 2 to 2.5 mm long, are oval with a broad, blunt tip; they are also very concave and envelope the stem. Stem and branch leaves are similar in shape, but the branch leaves are rather smaller. The leaf has a short, double nerve (but this may be absent) and thick-walled, orange-brown cells in the basal corners. Capsules are rare in this species.

Identification difficulty

P. schreberi avoids calcareous or base-rich habitats, and is most commonly found amongst grass and heather on heathland and in open, heathy woods. In such places, it can be truly abundant. P. schreberi also commonly occurs in bogs with ling heather (Calluna) and cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum).

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and frequent in Britain in suitable locations.

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