Pulvigera lyellii

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Identification notes

The problem with epiphytic Orthotrichaceae for the field bryologist is, of course, picking out the ones that are not Lewinskya affinis. Pulvigera lyellii is quite obliging in this respect on several counts. Firstly, it is eye-catchingly large, standing out from the tree as long, curving shoots, which can be spotted from a distance with practice. The lack of capsules on what is clearly a mature plant (they are very rare) is notable too, as are the very sharply pointed leaves. Finally, on close examination with a hand lens, a dusting of brownish gemmae is apparent on the leaves, clinching the identification.

This is never a really common plant in a woodland, but does stand out nicely when present. It is occasionally encountered on roof tiles and tombstones in graveyards, but this is unusual.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014