Bryum pseudotriquetrum

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Identification notes

In the north and west of the country, this is a common moss of open wet places such as flushes, streamsides, wet rock crevices, fens, wet heaths and marshes. Really anywhere where water seeps over gravel, soil or peat is a potential habitat. It tends to be less common in the south and east, partly due to limited habitat but it may also be another casualty of eutrophication.

Typical plants are usually fairly straightforward to identify. It is quite a robust plant for a Bryum, forming cushions or tufts that are often over 5 cm in height and composed of stiff shoots that appear stellate from above. The glossy leaves appear quite tough and rigid, because of the thickened leaf border which provides stiffness. Quite often there is a reddish or pinkish hue (but not so uniform as the salmon-pink Bryum pallens) and the lower stems are often matted with rhizoids (and sometimes filamentous gemmae). The nerve is slightly excurrent. A particularly useful character is the decurrent leaf base, which is often best seen if some leaves are stripped off.  Few Bryum species have this feature.

There are two varieties based on their sexuality. var. pseudotriquetrum is dioicous but var.bimum is synoicous. Fertile material can be elusive so often it is not possible to identify the plant to this level.

Species varieties

  • Bryum pseudotriquetrum var. pseudotriquetrum
  • Bryum pseudotriquetrum var. bimum
Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Common in the north and west, but more scattered elsewhere. It has a worldwide boreal distribution, and is apparently the most widespread moss in Antarctica.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014 View distribution of var. bimum

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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