Liverworts and Mosses

My expertise in readily and reliably identifying the bryophyte flora has been limited, so in the tables below only a representation of some of the species that may be present in the area is given. Photographs where available may be viewed by clicking on the scientific name. Initials in brackets after location relate to recorder. Thanks to Roger Snook for additional information about some of the species, and his notes on where some species may be found are given as (RS) in the locations column. Additionally, a visit by Ken Adams (KJA) on 23 February 2015 added more species to the list.

Epping Forest as a whole has a wide variety of semi-natural habitats and it is said that the Forest supports an outstanding bryophyte flora, with 177 species in evidence. (source: English Nature)  The same article states that the Forest's bryophytes have declined in variety as a result of problems including shading, scrub on the heaths, human interference and atmospheric pollution. Our area too - which includes Wanstead Flats, Wanstead Park and Bush Wood - is quite varied in habitat, but probably all of those problems exist in this part of the Forest. Indeed, Roger Snook laments the loss of some of the ditches and wet flushes, particularly north of the fairground site on Wanstead Flats, which only a few years ago held a much greater number of bryophytes, both in quantity and species. For an article relating to the area's mosses and liverworts, click here.

The following species are listed in alphabetical order.


Species Common Name Locations Habitat
Lophocolea bidentata Bifid Crestwort col 09/11/1980 woodland, grassland
Lophocolea heterophylla
Variable-leaved Crestwort bw K7 11/10/1981 woodland
Lunularia cruciata Crescent-cup Liverwort Capel Road garden wall 05/04/2006; col 16/01/2006; wp by OW (M9) 06/01/2016 walls and streamsides
Marchantia polymorpha Common Liverwort At the base of an old wall at the east end of Capel Road, 2010. Base of wall in Wanstead Park Avenue, 19/01/2016. (wf, RS) walls
Brachythecium rutabulum
Rough-stalked Feather-moss Capel Rd garden wall 21/03/2002; col 15/03/2008 woodland, gardens
Bryum capillare Capillary thread-moss col 05/03/2008; Capel Road front garden wall 19/02/2002; aldersbrook; (col 23/02/2015, KJA) walls; also on bark of London Plane in col
Campylopus introflexus Heath Star Moss col 23/02/2015 (with KJA) in grassland and on open topped grave
Ceratodon purpureus  Fire Moss wf (col 23/02/2015, KJA) grassland; also in Col on open grave top - no sporophytes
Dicranella heteromalla Silky Forklet-moss bw woodland
Dicranoweisia cirrata Common Pincushion col 23/02/2015 (with KJA) in CoL, a few scraps, non fruiting on London Plane
Funaria hygrometrica Common Cord Moss wf 07/04/2011; wp (RS); col 23/02/2015 (KJA) grassland; in CoL on 23/02/2015 with immature capsules in open topped grave
Grimmia pulvinata Grey Cushion-moss Garden walls throughout the area (col 20/02/2011 & 23/02/2015 KJA) walls; in CoL, with immature capsules on flat slab grave stones
Hypnum cupressiforme Cypress-leaved Feather-moss col 15/03/2008; wp 06/04/2011; (col 23/02/2015, KJA) woodland; in CoL, on open top grave
Mnium hornum Swan's-neck Thyme-moss bw K7 11/10/81; wp 24/03/2014 woodland
Mnium longirostrum syn. Plagiomnium rostratum
Long-beaked Thyme-moss wp; bw; col woodland
Orthotrichum anomalum Anomalous Bristle-moss col 14/04/2013 on worked gravestone
Plagiomnium affine Many-fruited Thyme-moss col 23/02/2015 (with KJA); 25/11/2020  
Pohlia nutans Nodding Thread-moss wf, M3 grassland
Polytrichum commune Bog Haircap wf 01/05/2009 boggy areas
Polytrichum juniperinum Juniper Haircap wf K3 south of Alex Lake 16/11/1980 grassland
Polytrichum piliferum Bristly Haircap wf K3 south of Alex Lake 21/01/2017 grassland
Pseudoscleropodium purum Neat Feather-moss col 23/02/2015 (wp RS); grassland
Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus Springy Turf-moss col, on lawn 24/10/2013; (col 23/02/2015, KJA) grassland
Syntrichia intermedia Intermediate Screw-moss col 23/02/2015 (with KJA)  
Tortula muralis Wall Screw-moss Capel Road walls 19/02/2002; on track in Sewage Works walls


Below are additional species which have been reported in the area, but which I have not personally seen. RS = Roger Snook; KJA = Ken Adams

Species Common Name Locations Habitat
Lophocolea sp.    wf north of fairground site in ditches (RS) boggy area
Amblystegium serpens var. serpens Creeping Feather-moss wp (RS); col 23/02/2015 (KJA) various
Atrichum undulatum Catherine's Moss Front garden in Woodcote Road E11 (now gone) (RS); col 23/02/2015 (KJA) woodland
Barbula convoluta var. convoluta Lesser Bird's-claw Beard-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA)  
Barbula convoluta var. sardoa Lesser Bird's-claw Beard-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA) open top grave
Brachythecium albicans Whitish Feather-moss wf (RS); wp (RS) grassland
Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum Red Beard-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA) plentiful with old and immature capsules all over one open-topped grave
Bryum argenteum Silver-moss wp/sw on the concrete bridge (RS) walls
Didymodon insulanus Cylindric Beard-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA) in CoL, plentiful along edge of tarmac path
Didymodon luridus Dusky Beard-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA) in CoL, plentiful along edge of tarmac path

Eurhynchium confertum syn. Rhynchostegium confertum

Clustered Feather-moss wp OW side of the Bund (RS) walls, gardens, woodland
Eurhynchium praelongum
Common Feather-moss wp OW side of the Bund (RS) woodland
Fissidens taxifolius Common Pocket-moss wp (RS) woodland
Kindbergia praelonga Common Feather-moss  col 23/02/2015 (KJA)  
Orthotrichum diaphunum White-tipped Bristle-moss col 23/02/2015 (KJA)  


 Past Records from "Flora of Essex" Stanley T. Jermyn, Essex Naturalist's Trust 1974
Lophozia ventricosa One record from 'near Green man P.H. Leytonstone', 1969 MOH 39,88?)
Sphagnum squarrosum Formerly recorded from Snaresbrook Bog, (now infilled), EF (39,88)
S. flexuosum Snaresbrook, in a bog by the Central Line, 1967, now infilled (39,88)
S. subsecundum var. inundastum Formerly recorded from...near Rising Sun P.H. (39,89)
S. subsecundum var. auriculatum Formerly in Snaresbrook Bog -up to 1967, (39,88), and by Alexandra Waters, Wanstead Flats, 1961, BTW - now gone (41,86)
S. fimbriatum By Underground Line, Leytonstone, 1956, JHGP (39,88) now gone
Dicranella cerviculata old record: Gravel pit, Wanstead Park, 1800, EF (41,87)
Dicranum bonjeanii old record: Near Snaresbrook
Funaria fascicularis old record: Ditch near spring between Snaresbrook and Shrub-bush, 1800, EF (39,88)
Drepanocladus exannulatus var. exannulatus
Snaresbrook, bog by Underground line, 1967, (39,88); Whipps Cross area, gravel workings, 1967 (39,88)
D. exannulatus agg.
Material of the aggregate has been reported from...Alexandra Waters, Wanstead Flats, 1961