views updated

Splachnum (order Funariales) A genus of mosses that are characteristically found growing on or associated with animal dung. The leaves are soft, lanceolate to obovate, with a thin nerve. The capsule is held erect on a long seta. Splachnum is a small genus found mainly in the northern hemisphere. S. ampullaceum and S. sphaericum occur in Britain. S. ampullaceum forms dense, light-green tufts on cattle dung. The capsules, borne on red setae, are often numerous and are characteristic in shape, resembling miniature Greek amphorae. They are found mainly in the upland regions of the west and north of Britain, particularly on wet heaths and moors, and in bogs.