Silver-moss - Bryum argenteum

Alt Name
Silver Thread-moss

This is the most recognisable of all British mosses. B. argenteum forms pale green or almost white, compact tufts or patches which look shiny and silvery grey when dry. The crowded shoots are usually less than 1 cm tall, and the rounded, concave leaves (0.75 to 1.25 mm long) cause the shoots to look smoothly cylindrical, hardly altered when dry. The nerve ends well below the leaf tip. The shortly oblong, pendulous (or rarely nearly horizontal) capsules are small (about 1.5 mm long) and borne on a short seta (about 1 cm long). They are usually produced between autumn and spring.


Found in disturbed habitats which may become very dry and are usually rich in nutrients such as nitrates. These include soil on and by paths (including cracks between paving slabs), roads, in arable fields, on waste ground and railway lines. It may also be found on stone rather than soil, as on walls, buildings, roofs, and concrete and tarmac. Habitats less influenced by man include sand dunes, eroding banks of streams and rivers, and unstable soil on lowland cliffs.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and common in Britain.

VC55 Status

Frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map

UK Map