Seligeria calcarea

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Identification notes

A Seligeria on chalk fragments in a sheltered place, such as a north-facing holloway bank or a woodland floor, is almost certainly going to be either this species or S. calycina. Because the plants are so small, this species pair is not always easy to separate in the field, unless dehisced capsules are present (usually March to April). Then you will easily see that the capsule of S. calcarea is widest at the mouth. Capsules of S. calycina characteristically narrow a little at the mouth when mature. Beware though – like many mosses, capsule shape does not develop fully until the spores are ripe.

Its leaves look quite short in comparison to the setae but because they are so small it may be best to check for the bluntly pointed leaf apex under a microscope. Both species have leaves in which the nerve is excurrent but in S. calycina the leaves look a bit longer and the apex is more sharply pointed.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Rarely away from the chalk but occasionally found on other soft limestones. In many areas it is scarcer than S. calycina, which shares its geology and habitats.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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