Tortula protobryoides

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Identification notes

This is a winter ephemeral whose frequently produced capsules are really required to differentiate it from a number of other small pottiaceous mosses with a similar leaf shape and excurrent nerve. The seta grows to about 5mm so the capsules are held just above the perichaetial leaves. They are elliptical in shape and narrowed at the capsule mouth. They are often slightly inclined. This species is cleistocarpus so the rudimentary peristome remains hidden as the lid remains fused to the capsule and spore release takes place through disintegration of the capsule wall. A ring of small round cells is visible at the capsule mouth.

This is a plant of open, disturbed, usually basic soil but also occurs on coastal sandy soils and some manmade habitats such as tarmac and pavements. There is also a record from astroturf laid on chalk.

Read the Field Guide account

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

Mainly a lowland plant, with the greatest concentation of records being from East Anglia.

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014