Tufted Feather-moss - Scleropodium cespitans


Scleropodium cespitans typically grows in extensive, almost pure, dense, usually low and fairly flat patches. The curved, or even arched branches often lie in the same direction, forming thick mats. Shoots are typically 1 t 2 cm long. Dry leaves retain their shape and are appressed and overlapping, making the mid-green to whitish-green shoots look smoothly worm-like. When moist, the leaves become erect-spreading and the shoots appear less neat. Leaves are somewhat concave and oblong to egg-shaped, about 1 to 1.5 mm long. They taper evenly at the often broadly pointed tip, but are sometimes narrower (but not drawn out to a fine point). Each leaf has a single, thin nerve. Capsules are very rare; the seta is roughened and the lid is conical.

Identification difficulty

Most often found by lowland streams and rivers, normally where there is occasional flooding, on the roots and trunks of trees, and on rocks and boulders, often in a bed of silt.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread in the southern half of Britain, less frequent further north.

VC55 Status

Uncommon or under recorded 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