Bryophyte identification

I am trying to learn how to identify mosses so I really appreciate when people post photomicrographs! They make it so much easier when trying to understand the features that species descriptions are referring to. I think having the photomicrographs sorted in the iNaturalist taxonomy will be an extremely valuable resource and easier to browse than Flickr.

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I’d be interested in articles on moss lawns. I wonder if you could post something like that here as a “Journal Post”?

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Wow… what an interesting project! I would imagine growing a moss lawn is pretty dependent on living in a wet, shady situation? Or, is this something that could be more broadly doable?

Sounds unfeasible in Southern California, for sure. Although the garden that I work for has some crust on the soil surface of the desert collection, and when it rains this crust is revealed to be mostly moss. It’s only green for a few days after the rain, quite magical–the rest of the time it is a brown a little darker than the dirt.

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And to think that people intentionally poison the moss out of their lawns.

I hate to say things like this, but lawns in general seem like a hive mind thing – people want them because they are supposed to, and most never question why.

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Oops … I did intend to say that many bryophytes require microscopic examination. Hand lens will do for some, most thalloid liverworts can be field ID’d, and some large mosses as well.

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Oops. I did intend to say that bryophytes require microscopic examination of the leaf structure. That said, some mosses can be field ID’d from aspect alone, especially after becoming familiar with the species with microscopes. Most thalloid liverworts can be field ID’d as well.

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ok will continue to add

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yes of course … oops …

thanks for the advice … I am very new here, learning about posting and comments.

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You can use quotes to post all answers in 1 comment, just choose the part of comment you need and click on “answer with quote”.

There are books out there about identifying mosses with a hand lens … I wrote one, using the format of the guide by Susan Munch. The classic is the volume by Grout.

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I’ve just gotten a couple of hand lenses with the intention of looking at mosses from my property, so I’m glad to read this thread!

Grout’s book link example (1924 3rd ed)

I also have access to the guide by Munch, one by Karl McKnight et al, another by Ralph Pope (good beginner tips in that one)

Might you be able to share a link to your own work, if you don’t mind my asking? Thanks if so!
Edit: Oh wait, is it this one? :) I’m in the mountain and valley area of VA but it still looks pretty applicable, with handy coverage of ferns too (which are currently a mystery to me). Is there a route to getting a hardcopy instead of ebook?

(A microscope is probably in my future hehe.)

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My point of view: every post that, together with the overall overview, depicts a plant in its smallest detail should be welcome and users should be encouraged to post more than one photos for each individual in order to provide a better representation. So, reconsider your intention to delete those photos.

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I wouldn’t call any mossy area neat because squirrels can tear it up pretty much hiding the acorns. Whenever I’m walking in the mossy areas, I just try to tear nearby moss to cover the hole and press down firmly.

Sorry, I’m still new to the inaturalist part of SEEK and computers are not friendly to me. Or is it the other way around?:rofl: Basically I’d have to figure where that section is and my original 2 articles include pictures to help explain things better. I have no idea if the links could be sent private message :woman_shrugging:t2:

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Hello! And actually not! The first place I found moss hiding was in a full sun area of the backyard under the grass. Sure, moisture and shade help and I was wondering if the moss underneath the grass would grow in full sun. So I started removing the grass and stomping on the moss to push down any that was lifted while I removed the grass. We rarely watered the grass there, yet to encourage the moss, we lightly misted the area several times a week. Misting doesn’t build up so water would run off as totally saturated soil for a good amount of time kills moss. Misting just wets the moss and enough to moisten the top bit of soil.

The only way to tell if moss will grow in your yard is to see where you have moss growing and remove everything in its way! That includes leaves, acorns, small rocks, sticks, seeds and other debris that I called “forest confetti.” Someone has to pick it up. When the moss is anchored firmly to the soil, we’d remove the leaves with a leaf blower on low power and held parallel to the ground. This way the blower won’t blow the moss off and skims the moss to remove leaves. Sometimes we will have some moss lift up and we just stomp it back down. Sort of like replacing a divot during a golf game.

If you don’t see any moss in your yard, maybe a neighbor has some and is willing to let you have some. Never remove from the wild as it may not grow even if you try to replicate the same conditions. Although you can collect spores! Bring an envelope and when the spore stalks are held above the moss, brush your hand across it and you’ll release lots of little spores that you’ll create a cloud of them! Catch them in the envelope and sprinkle them on the worst dirt you have in your yard. Remember they get nutrients from the air and water, and do poorly in rich, brown healthy soil. You can try to collect different species of moss spores in the same envelope and the best ones to grow in that area will flourish! It’s a slower method than collecting moss, yet it’s not prohibited like removing plants from its native environment. Good luck!

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:relaxed: What a great term!

The tips are great. The only place I’ve seen moss growing nearby are in relatively bare spots on the north-side of buildings. I do see lots of mosses growing in the north-facing foothills at somewhat higher elevations than where I live. It would be relatively easy to harvest some spores there, now that I think about it.

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In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, she describes a research project in which they found that chipmunks increased moss community diversity on logs. The chipmunks transported moss propagules in their fur and generated disturbance in coverage of logs by dominant moss species and thereby made opportunities for other moss species to take hold.

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Gotta love that rodent messiness!

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