Bryum argenteum

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Identification notes

There is usually no problem in recognising the tufts of smooth julaceous silvery shoots colonising the cracks in pavements. It is a very common plant of weedy manmade eutrophic habitats around human habitation throughout the world, including Antarctica. It is the commonest plant to inhabit the crevices of old cars. Capsules are frequent.

Sometimes the silvery colour can be much less obvious and because of the presence of bulbils there can be confusion with B.dichotomum which often grows with it and enjoys similar habitats such as roadsides and arable fields. It is usually much less julaceous than B.argenteum. Plants from natural habitats such as rock crevices or gravelly areas close to water could be something else such as Bryum julaceum and should be checked.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Widespread everywhere apart from the Scottish Highlands,

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Resources you may find useful

Holyoak, D. 2021. European Bryaceae.

David Holyoak’s book contains keys, detailed morphological, ecological and taxonomic descriptions and diagrams showing key features – and is highly recommended for anyone wishing to get to know Bryum species.

The Bryophyte identification page under Resources contains additional information on the genus Bryum, including an early version of the keys now published in David Holyoak’s book.

Bryophyte identification resources

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