Microbryum floerkeanum

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Identification notes

Late summer and autumn is the time to look for this tiny, enigmatic moss. Stubble-fields on clayey chalk are good places to search and it typically grows in a bryophyte crust with various other small ephemeral mosses. If you find lots of Dicranella varia or D. howei, Pohlia melanodon or Ephemerum recurvifolium that’s promising. Conversely, crusts that support abundant Barbula unguiculata, Tortula acaulon or Bryum rubens indicate enriched soils and these are less likely to have M. floerkeanum.

Plants are minute, much smaller than T. acaulon, and are distinctively reddish-brown. They frequently grow gregariously in small dense patches and these can be relatively conspicuous to a keen bryologist searching on hands-and-knees among greener mosses.

M. floerkeanum is a pioneering moss with a short life-cycle, and by November, it is far harder to find, having shed its spores and died away until the following year.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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