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STEP MOSS

Glittering Wood-moss

Hylocomium splendens

Mosses Family [Hylocomiaceae]

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category8Mosses

13th May 2011, High Park wood, Whitbarrow, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Growing amidst the green 'star' moss (Marsh Hair Moss) Step Moss is feathery and lime-green/yellowish.


13th May 2011, High Park wood, Whitbarrow, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Forms loose carpets. The fronds are silky and glossy. Leaves stick out either side of main stalk slightly forwardly directed and either horizontally or more often with a slight inclination upwards such as adopted by aeroplane wings.


13th May 2011, High Park wood, Whitbarrow, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The stems are either bright red or red-brown, and from which the flattish fronds grow. The fronds are light-green to yellowish, and bipinnate, unlike two other similar feathery mosses which are either single pinnate or tripinnate.


Some similarities to : Red-stem (Pleurozium schreberi) but that moss is singly pinnate or with Tamarisk Moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) but that is tripinnate and has a green stem and no gloss on the feathery fronds, whereas Step Moss is doubly-pinnate.

No relation to : Moss Campion or Mossy Saxifrage [plants with similar names].

Step Moss inhabits heaths, moorland, grassland, old fixed dunes, mountains and upland woods. It likes to grow with other mosses or with heather or grass on turf or rocky banks and mountain ledges providing it is moist. It prefers acid to neutral soil but will grow in well-leached basic soil.

It has a stepped appearance caused by new growth growing up from the old growth, thus tends to get quite mattressy. It is used commercially in floral exhibitions and for lining fruit and vegetable boxes. It exhibits anti-bacterial properties. In Canada it is used to stuff gaps in log cabins. It inhabits woodland particularly pine woodland and this fact is reflected in the UK'sNational Vegetation Classification designation NVC W18 which is defined as 'Pinus sylvestris - Hylocomium spelndens woodland' - which refers to Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris).


  Hylocomium splendens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Hylocomiaceae  
genus8Hylocomium
Hylocomium
(Mosses)

STEP MOSS

Glittering Wood-moss

Hylocomium splendens

Mosses Family [Hylocomiaceae]

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