Bryum violaceum

HomeLearningSpecies FinderBryum violaceum

Identification notes

This is a common member of the community of ephemeral mosses in arable fields and disturbed sites than survive disturbance by persisting as tubers. It looks very similar to other small Bryums of similar habitats that typically form tufts of green shoots up to 1cm tall. The purplish rhizoids are usually visible in the field, but reliable identification requires microscopic examination. This is usually straightforward.

The rhizoids are generally smooth with a purple violet colour and the small spherical tubers (less than 40 microns wide) are produced in abundance. Bryum ruderale has purplish often papillose rhizoids with larger and fewer tubers.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

This is essentially a lowland species that is tolerant of a wide range of soils. It is known virtually from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

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.

Porley R.D. (2008). Arable Bryophytes. WILDGuides Ltd, Basingstoke.

This useful little guide contains brief descriptions and a 2-page spread with photos of the tubers of many Bryum species for easy comparison.

The Bryophyte identification page under Resources contains a useful key and other information on the genus Bryum.

Bryophyte identification resources

Similar Species