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Climacium dendroides

Climacium-dendroides-2

Richard Fisk, our bryophyte recorder, provides us with these images of the moss Climacium dendroides.  Although common in Great Britain as a whole, there are only 2 other Suffolk recordings, making it a special find at our Orchid Glade reserve – a unique site.

C. dendroides often grows in patches, with erect stems 2–3 cm tall, arising from the prostrate, usually hidden, rhizome-like primary stems. The individual shoots resemble miniature palm trees, with rather rigid, stubby, yellow-green branches at the tip of the stems. The erect stems may be very short in dry sites, whereas shoots are much more tree-like in moister places. Leaves are about 2–3.5 mm long. The stem leaves are well-spaced and rounded at the tip; the branch leaves are narrower, acute, coarsely toothed near the tip and often have longitudinal folds; the leaf cells are elongated. Capsules are rare because male plants appear to be much less frequent than females.

Climacium-dendroides-4
C. dendroides is most frequent in damp places, especially where water levels fluctuate
during the year. In its favoured habitats it can compete well with flowering plants in
short turf. It grows at the edges of lakes and reservoirs, in dune slacks and turloughs
(seasonal lakes over limestone), flushes, wet grassland, damp scrub and woodland. It
is sometimes found in drier, base-rich or sandy grassland. It occurs rather rarely as a
colonist of gravel pits and damp colliery spoil.

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