Burned Out Bonfire-moss

Bonfire-moss Funaria hygrometrica

This is Bonfire-moss (Funaria hygrometrica) which has now come to its end leaving this deep red colour.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Macro Forest

Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis)

In my back garden I have an old sundial which I bought over twenty years ago when I first moved in to my house. Most folk might scrape or scrub off the lichen and moss which grows on it, but I love the effect it gives. It gives it more of a rustic charm, and it kind of has its own micro ecosystem going on atop of it. This is Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis) in extreme close up at the limit of my macro lens, and it is often found growing on old walls, concrete and roof tiles, including base-rich rocks. It kind of reminds me of a miniature forest, with trees, shrubs and grasses. Please click images for higher quality resolution.

Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis)

Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis)

Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis)


January 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2017. Camera used Nikon D7200 with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

 

The Wet, The Dry And The New

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

These are all images of the same species of moss growing on my garage roof. In its hydrated form it is fresh and vibrant with its leaves open as in the above image.

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

In these images it is dry to getting hydrated. It is quite amazing to watch how moss instantly gathers water when but a few drops are sprinkled on a dry mat of it. Within seconds it plumps up and begins to green or yellow up.

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

I believe the image below shows newly formed growth.

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

Photograph of Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia) taken October 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting ISO 800. 1/125 sec. f/6.3. No flash, hand-held.

 

Moss On The Roof

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

My garage roof has steadily succumbed to a covering of this wonderful moss over the years, which makes it look a lot more interesting than just covered in tiny white shards of gravel.  I decide to get the ladders out and have a close look-see, and amidst the open shoots which the recent rain has brought forth, are newer leaves ready to open up.

Photograph of Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia) taken October 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting ISO 800. 1/125 sec. f/6.3. No flash, hand-held.

Redshank Moss

Ceratodon purpureus

Redshank Moss Ceratodon purpureus

A variable species of moss which form cushions or patches which vary in colouration from yellow to mid-green through red to purplish brown. The reddish-brown capsules are fairly common.

It occurs on a wide range of acidic and well-drained substrates. It is frequent in heathland and acidic grassland, on walls and roofs, and may even be found growing on rocks, fence posts, old bones and old boots. Common and widespread.

Photograph of Redshank Moss (Ceratodon purpureus) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Great Hairy Screw-moss

Syntrichia ruralis subsp. ruralis

Great Hairy Screw-moss (Syntrichia ruralis subsp. ruralis)

This is a bright, golden green moss which forms loose cushions or extensive tufts which are 1-2cm high. The leaves are 4-6mm long, blunt-tipped with a long excurrent silvery hair-like point. When moist the leaves strongly curve away from the stem giving the shoot a star-like appearance. Capsules are rare.

Found on calcareous substrates on walls, rocks and sandy ground, and on old thatch. Common and widespread.

Photograph of Great Hairy Screw-moss (Syntrichia ruralis subsp. ruralis) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Intermediate Screw-moss

Syntrichia intermedia

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

I have had this moss growing on my garage roof for years, and it has virtually covered all of it. It shrivels up to a brown crisp in very dry weather, and yet as soon as a drop of rain falls it immediately expands like a sponge and greens up.

Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia)

A dull green to golden green moss which grows in tufts or loose cushions. The stems grow to a height of 1 to 4cm. The leaves are about 4mm long and are slightly narrowed at the halfway point, the lower margin having recurved margins. The tip is rounded and flat. The leaves spread out widely from the stem when wet, and when dry they are spirally twisted or incurved. Dry leaves may also appear pointed, making them seem tapered at the tip instead of rounded. The reddish-brown nerve projects from the leaf tip into a long, silvery white hair point which has small, coarse teeth. The capsules are cylindrical and erect, ripening to a reddish-brown colour. They appear in spring and summer, and are frequent.

Found on calcareous substrates such as roofs, calcareous rocks and walls. Also found on sunny, exposed stony ground. Common and widespread in most of lowland Britain, scarcer elsewhere.

Photographs of  Intermediate Screw-moss (Syntrichia intermedia) taken February 2014, on garage roof, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with 18-15mm lens.

Lesser Bird’s-claw Beard-moss

Barbula convoluta

Lesser Bird’s-claw Beard-moss (Barbula convoluta)

This is a bright, yellow-green moss which forms cushions or tufts on substrates. The shoots are around 0.5-2cm high and have spreading leaves. The leaves are up to 1.5mm long and have a shortly tapered tip. Capsules are rare, but when they do occur they are usually in abundance. The leaves around the base of the seta (spore-bearing stem), enfold it, hence the scientific name ‘convoluta‘.

Lesser Bird’s-claw Beard-moss (Barbula convoluta)

Found on paths, in gardens, fields and on walls. Common and widespread.

Lesser Bird’s-claw Beard-moss (Barbula convoluta)

Photographs of Lesser Bird’s-claw Beard-moss (Barbula convoluta) taken February 2014, on front driveway and stonework, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with 18-15mm lens with added opteka magnifier.

Common Feather-moss

Kindbergia praelonga

Common Feather-moss (Kindbergia praelonga)

This moss has regularly branched, roughly triangular pinnate shoots 1-2cm long. Robust woodland forms have bi- to tripinnate patterns and are larger. Stem leaves are  1-5mm long, and differ in shape from branch leaves. The stem leaves are triangularly heart-shaped with a fine elongated tp which often turns outwards. Branch leaves are about 1mm long, egg-shaped with a shorter tip, and finely toothed with a single nerve. The capsules are fairly frequent and are about 2mm long with a beaked lid.

Common Feather-moss (Kindbergia praelonga)

It is found on banks, in turf, on soil in woodland, on logs and at the base of trees and on branches. It may also appear in lawns. Common and widespread throughout.

Photographs of Common Feather-moss (Kindbergia praelonga) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Catherine’s Moss

Atrichum undulatum

Catherine’s Moss (Atrichum undulatum)

Also called ‘Common Smoothcap’, this is a robust and distinctive species of moss. It has dark green, narrow pointed leaves up to 1cm long on stems which can grow up to 7cm long. The leaf margins have paired teeth, and are distinctly undulate when moist, crisp when dry. Spore capsules are 3-4mm long with a very long pointed beak.

Catherine’s Moss (Atrichum undulatum)

It can form quite extensive patches in shaded woodland, heaths and on banks. Very common and widespread throughout Britain.

Photographs of Catherine’s Moss (Atrichum undulatum) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

About Mosses And Liverworts

Log covered in mosses
An old log covered in several species of moss

Mosses and liverworts are plants which belong to a group called the Bryophytes, which are the oldest land plants on earth and have been around for some 400 million years. Bryophytes’ are tiny plants which are mainly green in colour and are flowerless, and which reproduce by spores and/or by asexual gemmae or tubers. There are three main taxonomic groups which are: Bryophyta (Mosses), Marchantiophyta (Liverworts) and Anthocerotophyta (Hornworts).

Rotting fence post covered in moss
Rotting fence rail covered in moss

All these plants have evolved separately, and worldwide there are around 10,000 species of moss, 7,000 species of liverwort, and 200 species of hornwort. In Britain there are 763 species of moss, 300 species of liverwort, and just 4 species of hornwort. Most bryophytes have erect or creeping stems and tiny leaves, but hornworts and some liverworts have only a flat thallus and no leaves. Bryophytes have a two-stage life cycle. The gametophyte generation is the green photosynthetic part, where we see the green leafy plant we are mainly familiar with. Then there is the sporophyte generation which consists of a stalk and capsule which are dependent on the gametophyte for support and nutrients. The capsule when ripe releases thousands of tiny spores. Sexual reproduction occurs on the gametophyte generation and requires water for fertilisation. Many bryophytes also produce ‘gemmae’: tiny buds, discs or leaf fragments which spread the plants vegetatively.

Capillary Thread-moss Bryum capillare
Capillary Thread-moss (Bryum capillare)

Most Bryophytes can be seen all year round, and are therefore quite noticeable during the winter months. Many thrive in damp conditions, which is why Britain and Ireland have around two-thirds of European species, and some of our rarer species are globally rare. These extraordinary plants are like miniature forests, and are very important in sustaining the natural balance of ecosystems, and as primary pioneer species they help other plants and animals gain a foothold in the colonisation of new ground.

Great Scented Liverwort (Conocephalum conicum)
Great Scented Liverwort (Conocephalum conicum)

Springy Turf-moss

Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus

Springy Turf-moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus)

This moss forms dense tufts or mats, has distinctive red stems, and the way the shoots bend backwards gives the moss a star-like appearance. Fruiting is very rare.

Springy Turf-moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus)

Found on damp grass and banks in woodland, by streams and in marshes, and often in lawns. Common and widespread.

Photographs of Springy Turf-moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Smaller Lattice-moss

Cinclidotus fontinaloides

Smaller Lattice-moss (Cinclidotus fontinaloides)

I came across this moss on a bank near my local river. Sadly, after some development work to the canal nearby, this has now all been buried. It is a dark green robust moss which branches little, has somewhat of a trailing nature, with 2-15cm long shoots which bear 4mm long leaves that are narrowly egg-shaped with a strong nerve ending in the tip. The leaf margins are heavily thickened, forming a distinct border from base to tip. When dry, the leaves are wavy or spirally twisted. Narrowly elliptical shaped capsules are frequent, but the seta is very short and often buried amongst the leaves.

Smaller Lattice-moss (Cinclidotus fontinaloides)

Found on the banks and shores of rivers and lakes attached to submerged rocks, tree roots and stonework. Also found on limestone and siliceous rocks. It is most abundant in places where it may be subject to frequent inundation, but it cannot tolerate prolonged submersion. Common and widespread, especially in upland Britain.

Smaller Lattice-moss (Cinclidotus fontinaloides)

Photographs of Smaller Lattice-moss (Cinclidotus fontinaloides) taken February 2014, near local river, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200 with 18-55mm lens.

Thickpoint Grimmia

Schistidium crassipilum

Thickpoint Grimmia (Schistidium crassipilum)

Thickpoint Grimmia grows in rounded cushions or flat patches 1-3cm high. It usually looks quite hoary due to a hair point at the tip of the leaves. The capsules are largely hidden by the leaves that sheath them, but are reddish-brown, elongate and cylindrical.

Thickpoint Grimmia (Schistidium crassipilum)

This moss prefers calcareous walls, and can be found on blocks of limestone and base-rich sandstone. It can also be found on man-made substrates like tarmac, concrete and masonry in unshaded or partially shaded sites. Common and widespread throughout.

Thickpoint Grimmia (Schistidium crassipilum)

Photographs of Thickpoint Grimmia (Schistidium crassipilum) taken February 2014, nature reserve, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.