Monday, 16 February 2009


Mosses are good at the moment, with many showing spore capsules which can often aid identification. Mosses require close attention to detail, with microscopic analysis generally being required for a first identification. Once you have your eye in, though, many can be identified readily in the field.

First, I have Bryum capillare, which I find mostly on wall tops, although it can also be found on verges:
Next, the capsule of Tortula muralis which is another wall-top moss:

Hookeria lucens is very easily recognised, and always grows on the walls of ditches.

The individual leaf-cells are huge, and can almost be seen with the naked eye. The top shoot here is about 6 mm. across.

Fissidens cristatus has fascinating leaves arranged in an overlapping fan:

Notice the darker portion to one half of each leaf. This is a double layer of cells that form a pocket, presumably for water retention. Individual leaves about 3 mm. long:

Thiudium tamariscinum grows on the trunks of trees:

Plagiomnium undulatum grows on the rear of ditches:

Mosses can be very beautiful and will repay your attention and research. As a man once said to me: "You have to get down to their level". How true.

1 comment:

Gill said...

Nice page. Somne of thsoe larger-leaved ones look awfully like liverworts to the uninitiated....