Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Undulating Mosses


Steve Gale, over at North Downs and Beyond, has recently commented on the excellent new Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field Guide, published by the British Bryological Society. My copy arrived today and it is excellent, if  a little intimidating - the number of species seems to have increased since the last time I looked closely at these intriguing little plants. Above is Atrichum undulatum, known as Catherine's moss, which has distinctly undulating leaves (double-click for a better image) and capsules that are like miniature pepperpots when you pull the lid off - illustrated here. I once read that it was named after Catherine the Great of Russia (and was originally named Catharinea undulata) but I've never found out whether this is true or what she might have had in common with a lowly woodland moss. I think the lower photo shows Plagiomnium undulatum, also with undulating leaves, decorated with a light rime of frost. Now I've bought the book, I'll have to get my money's-worth and try to identify the other 761 British moss species...

10 comments:

  1. Phil, another great post and I bet a penny that before you find fifty you find one that isn't in the book.

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  2. Phil,
    whilst Undulating Mosses are not quite my field I just wanted to comment on what a fascinating and entertaining Living World episode (Deer Park) which I heard on Sunday Morning whilst attempting to scope some Deer in Wideopen

    John (Howdon Blogger)

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  3. Hi adrian, I'd better get on with it, while my eyesight is still up to it - a lot of the liverworts are minute..

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  4. Thanks for the kind comment John, I wish I'd been out-and-about at that time of the morning on Sunday.

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  5. Hi Phil. I'm intrigued by mosses and liverworts too. I've got an excellent book called 'Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses' by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Here's a link to a review of the book:

    http://www.wellreadnaturalist.com/2009/11/gathering-moss/

    Your post has made me pick the book up to read again. :)

    I look forward to lots of lovely photographs in your identification quest. :D

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  6. I misread and was expecting a piece on MOSES. I thought you were turning to religion.
    John

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  7. Lol John! Maybe Phil could do a post about Moses and the Burning Bush. ;)

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  8. Hi Lesley, you can download a handy guide to garden mosses at the British Bryological website at http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/bbs/Learning/malotag.htm

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  9. Hi John, well, there's no telling what might turn up in the bullrushes, alongside the bitterns...

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