Wall Screw-moss - Tortula muralis


T. muralis is one of the first (and commonest) mosses that beginners will find. It grows in patches, tufts and neat cushions less than 1 cm tall. A long, smooth, silvery, excurrent nerve projects from the rounded leaf tip, making the moss look hoary grey when dry. The tongue-shaped leaf blade is 2 to 3.5 mm long, and twists and curls when dry, but the leaves spread away from each other when moist. The margins are recurved almost to the tip. The less common var. aestiva has a very short, excurrent green nerve. Narrowly cylindrical capsules develop from spring to autumn. They are held erect on a 1 to 2 cm long, purple seta, with a long peristome twisted into a spiral.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Capsules are characteristically upright.


T. muralis is the commonest moss on many mortared or base-rich walls – both of brick and stone – and can tolerate some shade. It also grows on concrete, roof tiles and other man-made structures, as well as outcrops of natural, base-rich rock, and much less commonly on trees and wood.

UK Status

Widespread and common in Britain.

VC55 Status

Common 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