Field of Science

Bryophyte Week - Confusion about moss

There's lots of confusion about moss. Clubmoss is a vascular plant. Reindeer moss is a lichen. Moss champion is an alpine pink, a flowering plant. Rolling stones grow no moss and Kate moss isn't even a plant. And then there are the real bryophytic mosses. So hard to know what you think of when you think moss, but to assist, here is one of the Phactor's favorite illustrations, from back when botany wasn't just accurate, it was pretty, Ernst Haeckel's famous illustration of moss diversity (Kunstformen der Natur, 1904). Although few today approach Haeckel's stature, one of my ever creative colleagues used moss, all genetic varieties of Funaria hygrometica, for the cover image of the American Journal of Botany (vol. 99-11). Yes, that's a petri dish. Small world, huh?

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