Hamatocaulis is one of a handful of similar-looking ‘hook-mosses’ that you might encounter in base-rich flushes in the hills. When there is a lot of it, and the plants are robust, it is not too hard to see the its pleated leaves and red-brown patches at the base of the leaf with a hand-lens. Sometimes however, the leaves are barely plicate and the basal leaf cells lack pigmentation and then plants could easily be confused with Scorpidium cossonii or small-leaved forms of S. revolvens, both of which are found in the same habitat.
To confirm Hamatocaulis, section a stem and you’ll find that the outer epidermal cells of are distinctly small and thick-walled (Scorpidium has large epidermal cells). Hamatocaulis stems also lack any central strand whereas Scorpidium spp. have a weak central strand. There are some images showing these features in the gallery below.Read the Field Guide account