Plagiochila spinulosa

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Identification notes

As a genus, Plagiochila is interesting because more than half of its nine British and Irish species are regarded as hyperoceanic indicators of ravines in Atlantic woodland.

P. spinulosa is quite common in humid woodlands in the west, where rainfall levels are highest and where the proximity of the Atlantic Gulf Stream guarantees equable temperatures throughout the year. Like P. bifaria, a similar-looking hyperoceanic that sometimes share its habitat, it can be recognised by its growth form and by the relatively few, conspicuous teeth on its leaf margins.

Until 1977, P. spinulosa was not well differentiated from P. bifaria, known then as P. killarniensis. Even today there can be difficulties in telling them apart and sometimes it is necessary to confirm diagnostic features microscopically. Habitat can be a useful pointer; P. spinulosa is intolerant of exposure, unlike P. bifaria which may grow on crags and other situations in the open, and in all but the wettest and mildest areas will only be found in woodland or among sheltered rocks on north-facing hillsides.

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Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland


View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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