Hedwigia ciliata

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Identification notes

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.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Prior to 1994, there was no distinction between H. stellata and H. ciliata, and all material was recorded as H. ciliata. Distribution data of the combined species is shown under Hedwigia ciliata s.l. below.

View distribution of H. ciliata s.l. from the BBS Atlas 2014 View distribution of H. ciliata from the BBS Atlas 2014

Resources you may find useful

Callaghan, D.A. 2006. Hedwigia ciliata var. leucophaea new to England and Wales. Field Bryology 90: 8-11
Download article
Blockeel, T.L. & Bosanquet, S.D.S. 2016. Hedwigia striata in Britain and Ireland. Field Bryology 115: 10-18

As well as describing the neglected and rare Hedwigia striata, this article includes a complete key to all four British and Irish species of Hedwigia (including Braunia imberbis).

Download article
Hedenas L. 1994. The Hedwigia ciliata complex in Sweden, with notes on the occurrence of the taxa in Fennoscandia. Journal of Bryology 18: 1 39-157.

Similar Species

Hedwigia species can be mistaken for Schistidium or Racomitrium species in the field, but the presence of a nerve in all these species should make separation relatively simple.