Barbula unguiculata

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Identification notes

This is often one of the first acrocarpous mosses encountered by new bryologists. As befits such a ubiquitous plant, it can be encountered in a surprisingly wide range of habitats, and seems equally at home in both semi-natural habitat and highly urbanised situations.

Its colour is usually distinctive – a kind of bright yellow-green shared by few similar acrocarps (mainly Streblotrichum species), although plants from stressed, dry places can sometimes develop brownish tints. Its leaves always look dull and opaque, thanks to its densely papillose leaf cells. A really good field character is its really stout, yellow (or occasionally orange-red) nerve, which is excurrent in a short but strong point.

B. unguiculata favours eutrophic ground, including pavement gaps and arable fields where it may be associated with e.g. Tortula acaulon, Bryum rubens, B. dichotomum, Streblotrichum convolutum var. convolutum and Didymodon insulanus.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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