Tortula cernua

HomeLearningSpecies FinderTortula cernua

Identification notes

This is a very rare and inconspicuous plant which has very specialised habitat requirements. It grows on the magnesium rich highly alkaline toxic weathered waste of abandoned lime kilns which is very fine and clayey.  It is an annual species that requires moisture, some disturbance and an open substrate, and populations fluctuate from year to year.

It is most easily found when fruiting. The seta is long in relation to the size of the plant and the capsules are horizontal and curved, so look like no other Tortula or related species. The leaves have an excurrent nerve which protrudes as a short point. The leaf is bordered with narrow rectangular cells and is recurved, becoming denticulate towards the apex.

Finding this plant requires a determined search on hands and knees in a known locality.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

It is found in a few localities in the magnesian limestone districts of Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It is not known from natural habitats in this country.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014