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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!

29 November, 2016

Leucobryum glaucum: the white moss

The white moss (Leucobryum glaucum)? Surely it is green? You actually need to see this moss close up to see why it is called white moss. The shoots are actually different colours, some are a dirty white, some a glaucous colour (see the glaucum in the scientific name) and some are pale green. From a distance it looks green but close up it looks more white.
This is a common moss in acid conditions, especially on damp soils in woods, heaths and bogs; the soil must be bare and very acidic. It forms tufted mats of closely packed shoots and it is sometimes called the pin cushion moss for this very reason. In favourable conditions these mats can be quite large and cover earth, logs, stumps and even tree trunks. It is very distinctive and cannot really be mistaken for any other moss species which, in moss identification, is a real treat for the novice!. 
Leucobryum glaucum: the white moss