Microbryum starckeanum is a small, short-lived species rarely found too far from the sea. It is most conspicuous in the autumn and winter, when its capsules mature and its obvious pale peristomes catch the eye.
This moss, and its close relative M. davallianum is recognised fairly easily in the field; its erect red-brown capsules have lids with a short beak which separates it from any similar looking Tortula (long beak and normally considerably larger gametophytes). Confusion with M. davallianum var. commutatum is possible as both have well-developed pale peristome teeth but a quick check under the high power microscope will show the spores of M. starckeanum to be clearly warty/lumpy-looking, unlike the regular-looking spores of M. davallianum.Read the Field Guide account