Distichium inclinatum

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Identification notes

Inland, you are most likely to encounter this attractive moss in hilly districts on limestone or other hard base-rich rocks and masonry. It prefers sheltered situations in areas with high rainfall. Near the coast, it is also found in calcareous dune slacks and dune grassland and is especially frequent in Scottish dune systems.

Until you tease a few shoots out of the tight cushions and patches it often grows in, you could easily think D. inclinatum is a Flexitrichum, a Dicranella or another species with long, narrow leaves. However, once the distichous arrangement of the leaves is clear all that remains is to confirm which of the two species of Distichium you’ve found. Both are calcicoles and may be found in similar places.

D. inclinatum is less common than D. capillaceum. As it’s name suggests, its mature capsules are inclined, not erect. However, beware old capsules which, as in many mosses, tend to straighten out as they age. But even if the capsules are a bit old, you can often squeeze out a few spores left inside. The spores of D. inclinatum are much larger than D. capillaceum, so this is a very useful ID character.

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Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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