Platygyrium repens

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Identification notes

This plant can easily be overlooked as the very common Hypnum cupressiforme var. resupinatum – a small, pinnately branched pleurocarp, with nerveless leaves pointing in one direction, growing on bark in damp woodland.  In fact, were it not for one particular feature of this moss, even the most experienced bryologist probably would overlook it.  Fortunately, only very young plants lack these structures, which catch the eye and give the plant away.  ‘Axillary propaguliferous branchlets’ occur very frequently at branch tips.  Hmmm…what does this mean?  Once you see them, you know them straight away – little branchlets (to 1.5mm long) with tiny leaves arranged around the axis like the bristles of a bottle-brush, poke out from the cushion at a jaunty angle. These are often abundant, giving the whole plant a very distinctive appearance and as your eye scans over mats of epiphytic pleurocarps they will attract attention, if the plant is present.  The tiny leaflets act as an effective means of propagation, as patches can become extensive, despite capsules being rare.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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