Moss classification

I am starting to study mosses where I live and I have been using the keys in the Flora of North America. I recently ran into a moss that the FNA said was an Orthotrichum but iNaturalist placed in the Lewinskya genus. That genus is not recognized by the FNA. What source does iNaturalist use for the classification of mosses?

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you can look flags on a particular taxon to see if there’s any activity and to ask questions:

i’m not a moss person at all, but just looking at the taxon details for a random moss (ex., it doesn’t look like there’s a specific standard source for moss taxonomy.

that said, here’s some relevant previious discussion, i think:


Maybe it is a new genus name. A quick search on the web for “Orthotrichum Lewinskya” displays results such as Lewinskya, a New Genus to Accommodate the Phaneroporous and Monoicous Taxa of Orthotrichum (Bryophyta, Orthotrichaceae)


I frequently find that iNat offers new names for mosses that key out to an older synonym using online and printed resources. From interacting with a couple of bryologists, my understanding is that they all still use the old names. E.g. Callicladium imponens is still Hypnum imponens to them, because that’s what the books and herbarium labels says and that’s how they’re teaching it to their students. I got the impression that there is quite a bit of inertia to accepting new names in the field, whereas things appear to be changing much more rapidly on iNaturalist.


I personally refer to TROPICOS ttps:// for bryophtye taxonomy, but in cases where it’s ambiguous, don’t hesitate to open a flag!


If I remember correctly, iNat follows this reference, where applicable:

Which works reasonably well for the palearctic (so including north America).

There is no database for bryophyte taxonomy yet (like POWO or thePLant list for higher plants).

If you find an unfamiliar name, or iNat suggest something else, you can usually scholar it to find the paper arguing for those changes (I am not sure what is the policy here so I will NOT advocate for piracy if there is a paywall).

Local floras may or may not (yet) follow changes in scientific papers.

IDing moss is a bit more of science than IDing many other groups, and usually reading scientific references is absolutely necessary to get an ID anyway, so adding a paper or two to that for the most recent synonym is no biggie

Oh, also this exists:

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and is used as reference by iNat

North America is the Nearctic.
Palearctic (Eurasia) + Nearctic (North America) = Holarctic

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That’s true for vascular plants too, but for some reason the iNat curators and the POWO reference used for vascular plants keep forcing the new taxonomy through.|

If you’re in the northeastern forest area check this book out for sure

I still can’t figure out what most of them are, but it’s a great guide