Hamatocaulis vernicosus

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Identification notes

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

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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