Hair moss (Mosses)
Moss gametophytes have spirals of veined leaves. The sporophytes are partially photosynthetic and have stomata. Plants are either male or female. The photosynthetic layer on the top of the leaf is several cells thick, arranged in rows called lamellae. Moss sporophytes are sometimes branched, and hold a spore-containing capsule.
Polytrichastrum or Polytrichum?
Our trail brochure gives the name of this moss as Polytrichum commune. After the brochure had gone to print, Pete Michna, our resident moss expert, noticed that this specimen of moss wasn’t from the same stock as the previous specimen of Polytrichum commune which had been on display, and therefore couldn’t be assumed to be the same species. Closer inspection revealed that the specimen now on display is Polytrichastrum formosum. It is less delicate than P. commune, which is a good general indicator, but definitive identification requires microscopic examination of the cells at the ends of the lamellae: the tips are rounded (like a slice through corduroy) in P. formosum, but are heart-shaped in P. commune.