A Walk in the Woods - A Look at Mosses
Plume Moss, Dendroalsia abietina
Mosses make up a rather common but under-appreciated and truly captivating group plants. This beautiful one is called Plume Moss, Dendroalsia abietina.
Infrequent visitors to the woods may take mosses for granted, after all, they all look the same don't they?

Well, actually there is a vast difference among the many species of mosses that can occupy the same habitat.

Here are three very different looking plants all found in the same area.
Spread Moss
Juniper Haircap Moss, Polytrichum juniperinum __
Juniper Haircap Moss, Polytrichum juniperinum
Shining Moss, Hookeria lucens

Different species often prefer different habitats and in the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest there is an abundance of niches for mosses to grow.

This conk in a tree proves to be a perfect spot for a number of plants to establish themselves.


Many mosses adapt to growing on trees and some seem to completely cover the massive trunks like Menzies' Anacolia Moss, Anacolia menziesii, on the left.

The diversity of these plants is demonstrated with these images.

Above is the fine thin form of Anacolia menziesii and on the right, broader curly leaves of Dendroalsia  abietina.

This is Cat Tail Moss, growing profusely and hanging from trees like some lichens do.
Homalothecium nuttallii __ Pinnatifid Homalothecium, Homalothecium pinnatifidum
Homalothecium nuttallii (left) clings to the rough bark similar to ivy.
Other mosses like Pinnatifid Homalothecium, Homalothecium pinnatifidum (right) are able to flourish on rocks.
Red Bryum, Bryum miniatum
Red Bryum, Bryum miniatum, is another moss which prefers rocks and can endure the constant flow of rain water that rushes down the mountain sides. The environment here suits this moss as it turns red and bursts into flower.

The “flowers” of mosses are actually spore capsules.

These three images show a variety of different structures that these capsules can take.


Go to A Look at Mosses - Page 2 »


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