Wall Screw-moss (Tortula muralis). March 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2017.
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.
January 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2017. Camera used Nikon D7200 with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
This familiar moss forms neat, low spreading cushions and tufts up to 1cm high. It has oval, round-tipped leaves 2-3.5mm long, which end in a fine, silvery hair-like excurrent nerve. The spore capsules are narrow and held upright, borne on 1-2cm long, thin stalks. They are yellow when young and turn reddish-brown as they ripen.
It can also tolerate some shade, and can be found growing on old brick walls and base-rich rocks. It also grows on concrete, roof tiles, and other man-made structures. It is less seldom seen growing on trees and wood. A very common and widespread species.
Photographs taken January and February 2014, front garden wall, Staffordshire.