H.stanfordensis was described as new to the British flora in 1961, having been found on trampled soil beside paths in the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall. Subsequently it appeared and spread along the catchment of the Wye and Severn. It is usually found on compacted soil along the riverbank, adjacent paths or disturbed ground close by such as arable fields. It is a winter ephemeral which survives the summer as rhizoidal tubers.
At first glance the leaves are similar to Tortula truncata. Care is needed to differentiate it from H.macrophylla, although in practice the distributions are somewhat different. In both species a hand lens will reveal teeth on the apex and a multistratose border, which these are often easier to see in H.stanfordensis. It tends to have narrower and less bright leaves than H.macrophylla, and is more lingulate in shape and hardly widened 2/3 up the leaf. The leaves tend to appear more rigid as there is frequently a slight concavity. The apex in H.stanfordensis is more obtuse, and the excurrent nerve consists of a few cells and is usually less than 100µm long. The cells near the leaf apex are usually less than 20µm wide but this is sometimes an unreliable character.Read the Field Guide account