Pohlia melanodon

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Identification notes

This small and unobtrusive moss is very common, especially on damp clay soil. Confusion is possible with Bryum spp. and it is instructive to know certain features that separate members of that genus from Pohlia melanodon and its close relatives.

The nerve usually does not reach the leaf tip of Pohlia spp. but nearly always does so in Bryum. Indeed many species have a distinctly excurrent nerve. Pohloa melanodon and its relatives have denticulate leaves and lack a border, whilst few Bryum spp. have toothed leaves and many have a leaf border.

P. melanodon does sometimes produce pendent capsules in the winter and spring. However, its pale, bead-like rhizoidal tubers are usually present although often hard to find among soil. Staining with iodine may help. The shape of the tubers also helps to separate questionable specimens from other non-bulbiferous species of Pohlia.

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Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Resources you may find useful

Arts, T. 1986. The occurrence of moniliform tubers in Pohlia melanodon. Bull.Soc.Roy.Belg. 119: 114-120
Preston, C.D. 2004. An updated list of British and Irish bryophytes from which tubers have been reported. Field Bryology 83: 2-12
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Similar species (to be added)

Bryum species (in Section Bryum)

Pohlia lescuriana

Pohlia lutescens

Pohlia wahlenbergii