Can you recognise these three common Churchyard Mosses?

  • Grimmia pulvinataImpress your friends
  • See beautiful shapes, patterns colours under a hand lens
  • Feel happy because you can name some of the plants growing on a wall – and once you can name the plants they can become your friends.
  • Enjoy sharing this knowledge with others


Did you know – that Britain has one of the greatest diversities of mosses and liverworts in the whole of Europe?

How many mosses and liverworts do you think there are in Britain?
a) Less than 50 b) 100 c) 500 d) just over 1000 (answer at foot of page)

hand lens

 

It is helpful to have a hand lens.

 

 

Would you like to become a Maestro (expert) in Mosses and Liverworts?

Grimmia pulvinata when dry

Use this page to find out about three very common mosses – two which grow on wall tops, especially on cement,  and one which grows in lawns

1. Grimmia pulvinata

Grimmia pulvinata when moist

Grimmia pulvinata when moist – this is the same plant as at the top of the article

You may find some dark green grey cushions, 1cm to 4cm across and up to 3cm deep – silvery grey because all the leaves end in long hair points. these cushions look like a little mouse on the wall.

This moss is Grimmia pulvinata – Grey cushioned Grimmia. (Pulvinate means shaped like a cushion – convex surface from top to bottom). It looks like a little grey mouse crouching low on the wall.

The stalks of the capsules are bent, so the capsule points down and grows into the cushion

 

 

 

 

 


Tortula muralis – Wall screw-moss.The Screw-mosses are so named because the leaves “screw up” when dry and unscrew again when wettened. They have long silvery hair points to the leaves. The leaves of Wall Screw-moss are very small and hardly noticeable, though they open out when wet. When the plant produces its long narrow upright capsules, it is much more conspicuous.

 

Here is the long capsule. When the “hat” (top left) falls off the long spiral peristome teeth can be seen.

 

 

 

3. Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus  – Springy Turf Mos

 

This is very common in lawns. It has red stems.  the leaves are squarrose – that means they have a bend in the middle and thus bend out and back –  maybe they have a bend like the corner of a square. If you look at a shoot from above it looks like a tiny star. The star has a “hole” in the centre like a polo.

 

Capsules are uncommon but here is a drawing of one.

 

 

 

why not invite a local naturalist to show the people in your church the common mosses and then make a nature trail leaflet for the mosses in your churchyard?

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How many mosses and liverworts in Britain?

763 species of moss and almost 300 species of liverwort comes to about 1060  species of both

Posted in Biodiversity

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