One of the most ubiquitous of medium-sized pleurocarps, R. confertum is especially common in eutrophic lowland habitats. It is most reliably identified in late autumn and winter, when it bears abundant capsules.
It is a common beginner’s mistake to confuse this plant with certain other superficially similar species, most frequently Brachythecium and Brachytheciastrum species. When capsules are present, close examination of R. confertum with a hand-lens will show that the lid has a long, narrow beak and the seta is smooth. In contrast, Brachythecium rutabulum and the much scarcer Brachytheciastrum velutinum both have more conical or shortly beaked capsule lids and papillose setae.
Plants without capsules or setae can be harder to identify, although it is usually smaller than Brachythecium species and typically has wider and more shortly pointed leaves. Despite this, some bryologists do not like to record R. confertum when it is not fertile.
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