Tortula caucasica

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Identification notes

This is the scarcer of the two common species of Tortula that have no peristome. Although straightforward to tell T. caucasica and T. truncata apart by capsule shape when lids have fallen, it is inadvisable to use this character for plants with immature capsules as in both species they may appear longer than wide.

There is, however, another little-known character that works for maturing capsules too. Immediately below the capsule mouth of T. caucasica there is a distinct band of 3-5 rows of small, quite thick-walled cells. In T. truncata, this is reduced to 1-2 rows of thin-walled cells.

Tortula pallida, recently added to the English and Welsh lists (see Sam Bosanquet’s Field Bryology article below), is very similar to T. caucasica and is usually found very close to the sea. It differs primarily in leaf shape and the colour of the seta and leaves.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Resources you may find useful

Bosanquet, S.D.S. 2021. Tortula pallida in England and Wales. Field Bryology 126: 22-26

Sam Bosanquet restores Tortula pallida to the British list and describes how it differs from T. caucasica.

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Similar Species

Most likely to be confused with the recently reinstated Tortula pallida, which may be common close to the sea.