Swartz's Feather-moss - Oxyrrhynchium hians

Alternative names
Eurhynchium hians

Oxyrrhynchium hians varies greatly. Some forms are yellow-green, prostrate, with straggling main stems and widely spaced side branches. It also occurs in denser, dull or dark green patches. More rarely the branches are crowded and erect. Plants are medium-sized and have branches that usually spread widely from the main stems, which are usually about 1 to 4 cm long. Stem leaves are a little larger than branch leaves, but similar in shape, broadly egg-shaped with a broadly pointed to tapering tip, 1 to 1.5 mm long. They have a single nerve and finely toothed margins, spread away from the stem, and alter little when dry. Branch leaves are narrower and acutely pointed, but not drawn out to a fine point, and are occasionally arranged more or less in one plane.

Identification difficulty

Oxyrrhynchium hians grows on bare soil in a wide range of habitats. These include stream banks, woodland, hedge banks, grassland on chalk, clay and other base-rich soils, arable fields, parks and gardens. On muddy stream banks it is often rather scruffy. It also occurs in wet seepages and on wet rock ledges.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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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