Bryum canariense

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Identification notes

This relatively large, beautiful and rare Bryum is a warmth-lover and is characteristic of south or west-facing limestone outcrops not too far from the sea.

It is quite closely related to B. capillare and B. torquescens and resembles both species in size and growth form. The main field character that sets it apart from both is its colour; it is a rather unusual dark reddish-green. It has red tints elsewhere, too – its lower stem is matted with red rhizoids, the nerve is reddish and it often has red spherical rhizoidal tubers. When plants are dry, the leaves are more or less straight, another point of distinction from B. capillare which corkscrews when dry.

Stem leaves are typically in a comal tuft and have large marginal teeth near the apex. When it’s in a sheltered locality it may produce capsules, but these are not strictly needed for certain identification.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

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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