March 1, 2023
Orthotrichum pulchellum – Elegant Bristle-moss
On a recent visit to Habberley Valley by the Wyre Forest Study Group, Ann Hill found Orthotrichum pulchellum Elegant Bristle-moss growing on a hazel branch.
The photos shows the pale capsule on top of the seta (stalk) tipped with dark brown and with a series of dark dots around the lower margin.
Elegant Bristle-moss has a distinctive appearance, with long, bristle-like setae that can grow up to 3 centimeters in length. The setae are usually red or brown in color, and are topped with small, capsule-shaped structures called sporangia, which contain the moss’s reproductive spores.
Elegant Bristle-moss plays an important role in its ecosystem by providing habitat and food for a variety of insects and other small animals. It also helps to prevent erosion by stabilizing soil and rock surfaces.
Like all mosses, Elegant Bristle-moss reproduces via spores, which are dispersed by the wind. The spores germinate into tiny, thread-like structures called protonemata, which eventually grow into mature moss plants.
Overall, Orthotrichum pulchellum is a fascinating and ecologically important species of moss that plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.
Dr Ann Hill