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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

24 October, 2016

Thuidium tamariscinum: the tamarisk moss

It is a shame that the 'leaves' of Thuidium tamariscinum are so small as individually they are so delicate and finely made and are rarely appreciated.  Not only is each individual leaf intricate in structure but together they make a wonderful bright green carpet. You need to be familiar with the garden shrub tamarisk to understand how this moss gets its name but it does, indeed, have leaves similar to tamarisk. Each leaf is like a pyramidal fan, a central dark stiff stem with 'branches' coming out on opposite sides getting gradually smaller as you go up the stem.
Very common on earth banks and ditches it is quite an easy moss to identify and to get another one 'under your belt' as you get to grips with a difficult group of plants. It has a preference for shady places and it likes heavy soil with no chalk influences so it is common in woodlands and hedgerows around the Poole Basin. It is far less common on the downs and the cliffs.
As ir usually grows in such profusion where it occurs why not pick a small piece and take a look at it through a magnifying glass to really appreciate what it looks like?
Thuidium tamariscinum: the tamarisk moss