Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve

An S.S.S.I. Managed by Woolston Eyes Conservation Group

Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts at Woolston Eyes

These three class of flora are collectively known as Bryophytes and their most important feature are that they have no vascular system. Without a vascular system, mosses, and liverworts cannot grow very large. The ‘plants’ we see are actually carpets of many individuals and not a single plant. They require water to reproduce and have no root systems so need water droplets to survive which is why they are associated with moist and damp environments.

  • There are at least 1098 species (by January 2021) of bryophtes identified in Britain and Ireland; close to 800 mosses, 300 Liverworts and just 4 Hornworts.

Mosses are simple waxy little plants, Liverworts are even simpler than mosses, often grow flat in large leaf-like structures and Hornworts are submerged aquatic plants.

The species of Mosses discovered at Woolston Eyes follow in alphabetic order of the binomial name with summary notes on the species general UK habitat. No attempt to describe the individual species recorded is made as the identification often requires expert knowledge and microscopic examination.

M01 Creeping Feather-moss

Family: Amblystegiaceae - Species: Amblystegium serpens

  • Status: Another common and widespread moss in the UK. Found on both living and dead wood in woods, hedges, especially old elders and open scrubby grassland, on stones and soil on banks, base of walls and beside streams and rivers.

M02 Common Smoothcap (Catherines Moss)

Family: Polytrichaceae - Species: Atrichum undulatum

  • Status: A common and widespread moss in the UK, generally found in lowland woodland but also in shaded places in grassland, heaths, rocky areas etc which are moist but not water-logged.

M03 Rough-stalked Feather-Moss

Family: Brachytheciaceae - Species: Brachythecium rutabulum

  • Status: This moss is very common and widespread in UK in a broad range of habitat, shady or open on logs, stumps, branches, rocks, walls, stones, gravel, soil and grassland. Only limited by altitude and high acidic soils.

M04 Velvet Feather-moss

Family: Brachytheciaceae - Species: Brachythecium velutinum

  • Status: A common moss and widespread in most of the UK but less frequent in Scotland and north-west England. Occurs on wood on the branches, base and roots of trees, on dead wood and stones, walls and compacted soil.

M05 Thread-moss

Family: Bryaceae - Species: Bryum capillare

  • Status: A common and widespread moss found in neutral to slightly acidic or alkaline soils in grassland, woodland and waste places and also on trees, timber, rocks and walls in similar environments.

M06 Pointed Spear-moss

Family: Hypnaceae - Species: Calliergonella cuspidate

  • Status: Common and widespread moss in the UK in suitable habitat as marshes, mires, wet grassland and moist rocky places.

M07 Heath Star-moss

Family: Leucobryaceae - Species: Campylopus introflexus

  • Status: A moss common and widespread in the UK despite it first appearing in the UK in 1941. This is a pioneer species of burning, forest clearing, ploughing, ditching and similar disturbed clearances but may also occur on rotting logs, posts, stumps, and thin soil along track edges.

M08 Lateral Cryphaea

Family: Cryphaeaceae - Species: Cryphaea heteromalla

  • Status: A widespread and fairly frequent moss in the UK but much less so in Scotland and northern England. Found on bark on trees and shrubs, prefers sheltered, moist places. Less common on stones, rocks and walls.

M09 Common Pincushion

Family: Rhabdoweisiaceae - Species: Dicranoweisia cirrata

  • Status: This moss is common and widespread in the UK except in the far north of Scotland. Found on timber and trees, rocky-stony places and old walls.

M10 Grey-cushioned Grimmia

Family: Grimmiaceaea - Species: Grimmia pulvinate

  • Status: This is a very common and widespread moss in the UK. Found almost exclusively on walls, brick, mortar, roofs, concrete and rocky places. It forms round, almost furry, greyish cushions around 10 to 20mm high when dry which appear dark green when wet as the long silvery-grey hair points on the leaves untwine exposing more of the green leaf structures.

M11 Glistening Wood-Moss

Family: Hylocomiaceae - Species: Hylocomium splendids

  • Status: Common in acidic heath, moorland and woodland in the UK. Found in birch and willow scrub on the Reserve.

M12 Mamillate Plait-moss

Family: Hypnaceae - Species: Hypnum andoi

  • Status: A common and widespread moss in the UK, generally associated with woodland found on tree trunks, branches, dead wood and rocks.

M13 Cypress-leaved Plait-Moss (Hypnum Moss)

Family: Hypnaceae - Species: Hypnum cupressiforme

  • Status: This moss is very common and widespread in the UK, prefers slightly acidic conditions but occurs on slightly alkaline bark and silica rocks.

M14 Supine Plait-moss

Family: Hypnaceae - Species: Hypnum resupinatum

  • Status: A moss common and widespread in the UK, found on tree bark, trunks, branches and dead wood of a large variety of broad-leaved hosts, rocks, walls, thin soils in slightly acidic, neutral to alkaline conditions, on siliceous rock and limestone in areas of high rainfall.

M15 Common Feather-moss

Family: Brachytheiaceae - Species: Kindbergia praelonga

  • Status: One of the commonest mosses in the UK, found in sheltered places on trees, fallen logs, in woodland soils, banks, grassland and shaded walls.

M16 Wood Bristle-moss

Family: Orthotrichaceae - Species: Orthotrichum affine

  • Status: This moss is common and widespread in the UK, found on trees and shrubs, especially Ash and prefers clean unpolluted air. Also found on rocks, stone and concrete in shadier places.

M17 Cape Thread-moss

Family: Orthodontiaceae - Species: Orthodontium lineare

  • Status: A common and widespread moss in the UK. Found in woodland habitats on decaying timber, fallen branches, trunks, stumps etc. of mainly broad-leaved species but also on pines and rocky ground and walls in similar environments.

M18 Elegant Bristle-moss

Family: Orthotrichaceae - Species: Orthotrichum pulchellum

  • Status: A moss most often associated with willow scrub above all other deciduous woodland trees, although it is not exclusive to this host. Found on twigs and branches, especially in sheltered places and less often on trunks, rocks or walls. Is common and widespread in the UK and increasing the colonisation of hitherto places where it was considered infrequent.

M19 Common Haircap Moss

Family: Polytrichaceae - Species: Polytrichum commune

  • Status: A common moss in a wide range of damp generally acidic habitats, forms large hummocks which are unmistakable.

M20 Springy Turf-moss

Family: Hylocomiaceae - Species: Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus

  • Status: Common and widespread moss over the whole of the UK. Found on the ground in unimproved grassland where the grass is shortish through management as mowing, in lawns, play areas, parks and paths, through grazing on farmland and heaths.

L01 Dilated Scalewort

Family: Jubulaceae - Species: Frullania dilatate

  • Status: A very common and widespread liverwort in the UK. Found on a variety of trees and scrubs, ash, willow and poplar in particular but also on rocks, stones, walls and in grassland.

L02 Bifid Crestwort

Family: Lophocoleaceae - Species: Lophocolea bidentate

  • Status: One of the most common ‘leafy’ Liverwort’s come across in the UK. Found in varied habitats, on the ground, rocks and other plants in woodland, grassland and heaths

L03 Bluish Veilwort

Family: Metzgeriaceae - Species: Metzgeria fruticulosa

  • Status: This liverwort is common and widespread in the UK, found on twigs and branches of deciduous trees especially willow and less so elder and elm. Long dry specimens are unique in turning blue, hence the common name and former scientific name violacea.

L04 Forked Veilwort

Family: Metzgeriales - Species: Metzgeria furcate

  • Status: A common Liverwort widespread in the UK growing on the bark of tree and scrub species and less often rocks. It is a translucent yellowish-green slime.