Yellow Feather-moss - Homalothecium lutescens


H. lutescens is fairly robust, pale or yellowish-green, with irregularly branched shoots that grow in loose, ascending tufts or as scattered stems. A less common form grows prostrate and closely attached to rocks and boulders, especially on limestone. In both cases the branches are stout (1 to 2 mm wide when dry), fairly long (typically more than 1 cm), and straight or nearly so. The leaves are about 2 to 3 mm long, triangularly spearhead-shaped, widest at the base, and taper evenly to a finely pointed tip. They are distinctive in having very strong pleats lengthways along the leaf, as in H. sericeum. The margins are only weakly and finely toothed. Capsules occur less frequently than in H. sericeum, and are 1.5 to 2 mm long and slightly curved.

Identification difficulty

H. lutescens is characteristic of short, unimproved, calcareous grassland, especially on chalk and limestone. It is also found in other open places, quarries, and on sand dunes. The prostrate form is locally frequent on rocks and boulders in limestone dales.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent 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