Schistidium rivulare

HomeLearningSpecies FinderSchistidium rivulare

Identification notes

There are only four Schistidium species found in riparian habitats. S. rivulare and S. apocarpum are the most common, followed by S. platyphyllum and rarely, S. agassizii. All of these grow on rocks in fast-flowing watercourses where they are likely to be regularly inundated or splashed.

Candidate S. rivulare can often be recognised from a distance, its straggly blackish tufts adorning rocks in mid-stream. It frequently grows in the same places as Racomitrium aciculare, which is similarly coloured. However, a quick check of shoots will usually reveal the presence of capsules on very short setae among the leaves if it is a Schistidium (R. aciculare frequently has capsules too, borne on long setae).

S. rivulare has short and wide capsules and is closest in appearance to S. platyphyllum. Some identification guides cite differences in the length of the perichaetial leaves (overtopping the capsule in S. rivulare) but they are often abraded and the most useful difference can only be seen by microscopic examination of the exothecial (capsule wall) cells. In S. rivulare these are thick-walled and mostly isodiametric and thin-walled and oblong in S. platyphyllum.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Similar Species