Friday, 14 April 2017

Mosses, Algae and Lichens on a Country Church

Silvery Thread Moss Bryum argenteum (Fr. Bryum d'argent), always found growing on stone.
Recently I went on a rather dull botany outing. Luckily, the church in the village was covered in all manner of lichens, mosses and algae, and some of us got well and truly side tracked.

We found Silvery Thread Moss on the pavement in front of the church. The cracks between the paving stones where we found it is very typical habitat for this species. This is a very easy moss to identify, because of its silvery hairs which give it a shining appearance whether moist or dry. It is widespread and abundant.

A lichen, Caloplaca cf flavescens.
The orange lichen Caloplaca sp (probably flavescens, but there are several lookalikes) often has white zones. It is common on limestone walls like this.

Looking at the mosses on the church -- there are maybe a dozen species here, all growing together and intermingled.

A Cord Moss Funaria sp.
Cord Moss is so called because the seta (the stems which hold up the capsules) are coiled like a rope when dry, but untwist when damp.

An alga Trentepohlia cf aurea.
You would never guess it to look at it, but Trentepohlia aurea is a 'green' alga. It contains a beta-carotene type pigment which gives it a characteristic orange colour, which hides and protects the green chlorophyll. It is common on rocks and walls, especially damp limestone. It grows either independently, or in a symbiotic relationship with lichen, providing photosynthesis services.


  1. That last photo looks like something one would see while snorkeling. Must be damp inside that church.