Hainault Forest Website

Mosses and Liverworts


COMMON WALL MOSSES found around the farm buildings

The  two pictures above show GREY CUSHION MOSS Grimmia pulvinata. The capsules are bent down into the plant where the spores are released. The greyness  is due to the long hairs which extend from the leaf tips. 

Size 2.5cm across.

CAPILLARY THREAD MOSS Bryum capillare  is a common moss of wall tops and found on the farm walls. Often found with many capsules. 2 cm. across. WALL SCREW MOSS Tortula muralis a common moss found on the tops of walls of Foxburrows Farm. The stem and leaves twist together when dry. 2 cm. across.



SILVER MOSS Bryum argentium is a common moss of crack in pavements in urban areas. Found on wall tops and in paving at Hainault Forest.  2 cm. across. CURLY THATCH MOSS Dicroweisia cirrata - not a Wall moss but found in woodland growing in crevices on the stems of old elderberry bushes. Width across 2 cm.


BUD-HEADED GROOVE-MOSS Aulocomnium androgynum  found on the ground and woodland floor on Dog Kennel Hill.  3 cm. across. The stalked ball-like structures seen in close up are for vegetative reproduction. They contain gemmae which break off and give rise to new plants.

A moss Campylopus introflexus found on the woodland floor at the base of trees. It rarely has capsules, but when brushed pieces break off (shown here) which will form new plants vegetatively.  4 cm. across. A Beard moss Barbula convoluta which occupies the bare patches of clay within the woodland on Dog Kennel Hill.  4 cm. across

SILKY FORKLET MOSS Dicranella heteromalla The picture on the left shows capsules. Common throughout the woodland on the ground and on stream banks. 3cm across.

ROUGH STALKED FEATHER MOSS Brachythecium rutabulum. Common in the woodland. 7 cm. across. Orthodontium lineare. Common on base of trees and rotting wood.  Specimen 3 cm across.

CATHERINE'S MOSS Atrichum undulatum occasionally found on the clay woodland soil. Leaves are translucent, undulated, giving a crinkled appearance.  3 cm. across WOOD HAIRCAP Polytrichum formosum is found on the clay woodland soil. Leaves opaque.  5 cm. across.






COMMON FEATHER MOSS Eurhynchium praelongum is common throughout the woodland, covering litter, branches and tree bases where it likes the shaded conditions.

10 cm. across.






Funaria hygrometrica

Found on a bonfire site on the heathland.

Capsules are plump and the lid is pointed

Picture 5 cm. across.

Photo: 8th April 2005.



SWAN'S NECK THYME MOSS Mnium hornum Common on the banks of streams. The picture above right shows the fruiting capsules which give the moss its common name of Swan neck.   6 cm. across

FLAT FORK MOSS Fissidens taxifolius An attractive moss on stream banks throughout the forest.  

4 cm. across

An interesting moss Rhizomnium punctatum low on the stream bank of Spurgate brook. Several flower-like male stems contain antheridia. Fissidens taxifolius is also present in the picture.    3.5 cm. across.


A Feather moss Brachythecium albicans which is found in large patches on the grassland on Dog Kennel Hill.

6 cm. across


Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus is a weed of acid grassland throughout the forest. 9 cm. across. The picture on the right shows male stems. 5 cm. across


L. heterophylla has bidentate leaves which change to more rounded leaves  towards the tip of the branch.


L. bidentata has bidentate leaves to the tip of the branch.



A tiny leafy liverwort Lophocolea heterophylla is found in damp woodland on rotting hornbeam. The leaves appear as two ranks along the stem. The white stems carry the capsules. Both young and old capsules can be seen above.  Picture 6 cm. across. Two species of Lophocolea grow in similar habitats and are often mixed together. The leaf shapes on the stem, using a good hand lens or microscope,  will separate them.

Lophocolea semiteres has overlapping, rounded leaves.


An alien liverwort from the southern hemisphere, Lophocolea semiteres first recorded in Hainault Forest 4th April 2004. Growing on rotting hornbeam.  Also found in Epping Forest it is larger than L.bidentata and L.heterophylla.

Picture 4 cm. across.



Lunularia cruciata


Often present as a weed of greenhouses and flower pots, this large thalloid liverwort is found on banks and rides in woodland. This specimen was found on the bank of a feeder stream of the Lake.

The gemmae or vegetative reproductive parts of the plant are held in gemmae cups which as seen in the picture are crescent shape.

Picture 4 cm. across.                 3rd April 2006.