Pogonatum urnigerum

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Identification notes

This is a low-growing species of dry, acid ground that, when characteristically glaucous, is easy to identify. None of our other Pogonatum/Polytrichum/Polytrichastrum species is conspicuously grey-green.

Occasionally, plants are taller and less glaucous and then it may be necessary to check them microscopically.Section the leaves transversely with a sharp razorblade and examine the sections under a high power microscope. If you have P. urnigerum its apical lamellar cells are very distinctive – they are thick-walled, rounded or elliptical and often larger than the cells below and topped by a fuzz of small papillae.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Similar Species

Only likely to be confused with other Pogonatum species or potentially small toothed-leaf Polytrichum spp. e.g. P. perigoniale. Polytrichastrum alpinum (usually a much larger, dark green plant) has similar apical cells but they are strawberry-shaped.