Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans

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Identification notes

This is one of our few complanate mosses, so has distinctly flattened-looking shoots. It’s also usually quite a striking whitish-green colour and brings some cheer to the shaded woodland banks and decaying wood it normally creeps around on. It is frequently found in the company of Mnium hornum, Dicranella heteromalla and Diplophyllum albicans.

It’s a calcifuge, and is only found on acid soils. This is useful as the most similar-looking moss – Taxiphyllum wissgrillii – is only found in strongly base-rich places, such as on limestone stones embedded in the woodland floor.

If you suspect you’ve found P. elegans, see if you can find any of the fragile, small-leaved branchlets which, when abundant, make some of the shoots look fluffy at their tips (they are vegetative propagules).  Only some shoots will have them, but it’s an identification clincher if you do find them because our other complanate mosses don’t have them.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Similar Species

Other than Taxiphyllum wissgrillii, only likely to be confused with Plagiothecium species, all of which have decurrent alar cells.