H. ciliata is a Nationally Scarce species and considerably rarer than H. stellata. It also seems to be more likely to be found on man-made habitats such as gravestones, sarsen stones and stone roof tiles.
There are currently two varieties recognized in Britain and Ireland:
• Hedwigia ciliata var. ciliata
• Hedwigia ciliata var. leucophaea
H. ciliata var. leucophaea is much rarer than var. ciliata and was only found in England in 2006. Several characters separate the two, including the proportion of leaf length that is hair-point, the colour of the hair-point, the papillosity of the hair-point, leaf recurvature and spore size. Hedenäs’ 1994 paper is an excellent resource for anyone trying to identify the varieties of H. ciliata (downloadable below).
In upland areas beware confusion with the rare H. striata, which does not appear in our current floras. It’s a good idea to take a fruiting shoot and subsequently check its characters against the 2016 Field Bryology article which can be downloaded from this page.