Seligeria calycina

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Identification notes

Apart from a few records from soft oolitic limestone in both natural and manmade habitats, this is essentially a plant that grows on the surface of chalk stones in shady places such as woodlands, under scrub in chalk grasslands and in old chalk pits on spoil and where chalk has fallen from the quarry face and tumbled into the vegetation below. It shares the same habitat as S.calcarea, but is probably slightly commoner.

Like all Seligeria it is a tiny plant but is quite gregarious and often grows in patches on the exposed chalk surfaces rather than as more scattered plants. The nerve is excurrent as a long subula with an acute point. The leaves of S.calcarea are shorter with a more obtuse point and the plants are more scattered. With experience it is possible to distiguish the two plants vegetatively but the capsule shape is more reliable. The capsule of S.calycina is ellipsoid and narrows at the mouth, whereas that of S.calcarea is more turbinate in shape, being wider at the mouth. Fortunately it fruits quite commonly.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

This pretty much follows the distribution of chalk with a few outliers on other calcareous substrates.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

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