Redshank Moss - Ceratodon purpureus


This very variable species forms cushions or patches which vary from yellow to mid-green through red to purplish-brown, with shoots to 3 cm. The leaves are typically 1.5 to 2 mm long, narrowly triangular, the lower ones appressed to the stem, the upper somewhat twisted and wavy when dry, normally held away from the stem or slightly reflexed when moist. The leaf margins are recurved almost from the base to the tip. The nerve is stout and ends in the tip of the acutely pointed leaf, which usually has a few coarse teeth. Capsules are common, red-brown, inclined when mature, swollen at the base and strongly furrowed when dry. The setae are distinctively purple-red.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Needs a good quality photograph.


Occurring on a wide variety of acidic, well-drained substrates, particularly peaty or sandy soil. It is frequent in heathland and acidic grassland, on walls and roofs, and can be particularly abundant on fire sites.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

One of our commonest and most cosmopolitan mosses, it is widespread throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map