Common Haircap/Marsh Hair Moss (Polytrichum commune)

┬ęPeter Cairns/2020VISION

Marsh hair moss

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Scientific name: Polytrichum commune
The Marsh hair moss is the largest moss in the UK. Look out for it in damp woodland and on boggy heathlands where it forms large, green and spikey 'cushions'.

Top facts


Height: 20cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The largest moss in the UK, Marsh hair moss grows in damp woodland and ditches, and on heaths and moorland. It grows relatively tall and often forms large 'cushions' or hummocks. The fruiting bodies appear in summer - the capsules are borne on a long, red stem and covered by 'calyptra' (capsule covers).

What to look for

There are at least five species of hair moss in the UK, which are very difficult to tell apart. Marsh hair moss (also known as 'Common haircap') is green, with tough, red, wiry shoots bearing narrow, toothed, spear-headed leaves.

Where to find


Did you know?

The common name of Marsh hair moss is derived from the golden, hairy calyptra of the fruiting bodies, which are very conspicuous.