Wall Scalewort - Porella platyphylla


Shoots are up to 1.5 to 4 mm wide, and several centimetres long. It is larger than most other lowland leafy liverworts, grows as loose patches or wefts of pinnate shoots, and often looks rather untidy because its leaf edges curl upwards. Leaves are up to 2 mm long and wide. Turning over one of its dull, usually dark green shoots will reveal a characteristic leaf arrangement: a blunt-tipped lobule with up-curled edges at the base of each leaf, and a row of broad underleaves with up-curled edges along the stem. The lobules are one-fifth to one-eighth the size of the leaves.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.


P. platyphylla is an abundant plant on calcareous cliffs and boulders, even occurring on the tops of old walls in urban locations. In lowland England it is most often found on the base of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) trees in ancient woodland or around the base of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and ash on chalky banks.

When to see it

All year. 

UK Status

This is the commonest Porella in England and is widespread throughout much of 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