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THIS little Essay has been written in the leisure 
hours of one whose every-day life is spent amid the 
busy hum and constant strain of a work-a-day life 
in a large town, with the hope that he may call the 
attention of others similarly situated to himself to 
the beauties and wonders of some of God's fairest 
works. The .study has been to him one of constant 
enjoyment, has led him into many a charming spot, 
has given him many a much-prized friendship, has 
informed his mind, gladdened his heart, and gratified 
his eyes ; and he would say to any one who is in 
search of objects of real interest : Study the Mosses. 
No objects are more readily found, for everywhere 
in nature you will find the Mosses. And if you 
desire a study which will present you with a constant 
supply of interesting objects whether you take the 
varieties of leaf form, or notice the elegant designs 
of the little capsules, or study the exquisite beauty 
of those minute fringes which adorn the capsules of 
so many of our mosses, passing by degrees most 
gradual from the simplest to the most complicated 
structures, or study that most elementary of all 
organisms, the vegetable cell, and observe how by 


this simple organism all the thousand species and 
varieties of moss are built up, all diversified, and yet 
all alike mere cellular structures if you desire a 
study which will find you employment, interesting 
and fascinating employment for your leisure hours 
the whole year round, and which, if pursued aright, 
will never grow wearisome, let me advise you to 
study the Mosses. To quote the glowing words of 
Ruskin, " No words that I know of will say what 
these Mosses are, none are delicate enough, none 
perfect enough, none rich enough." 

In compiling these notes I have availed myself of 
Wilson's very excellent " Bryologia Britannica, ' 
Berkeley's "Handbook of British Mosses," Schimper's 
" Synopsis Muscorum Europaeorum," Berkeley's 
" Cryptogamic Botany," Braithwaite's " Sphagnaceae 
of Europe and North America," and also a very 
able paper by Dr. Braithwaite " On the Geographical 
Distribution of Mosses in Europe." 



INTRODUCTION . . : . ' '; '."" . - r ". . . . i 



DEVELOPMENT . '. -\ "... ... * . . -9 

Moss HABITATS . * . . . . ,- . .28 


CLASSIFICATION. . . . . ;. . .. * ,; . 61 



CULTIVATION . " . .80 


USES . . ff . . . . . . - . . -.-.- . . . 85 




1. Bryum caspiticium, capsule, peristome, leaf cells ... 5 

2. Spores of Moss ; gemmiform state of Aulacomnion androgynum 9 

3. Phascum serratum, capsule, protonema, and leaf, enlarged . 1 1 

4. Pottia truncata, operculum, leaf, and leaf cells . . .12 

5. Hypmim rutabulum, fruit, leaf, peristome, leaf cells, enlarged 13 

6. Funaria hygrometrica, antheridium, antherozoids . . 15 

7. Funaria hygrometrica, archegonium 17 

8. Origin of the sporogonium . . . . . . .18 

9. Funaria hygrometrica, longitudinal section of the theca . .19 

10. Splachnum ampullaceum, plant, capsule, leaf cells . . .23 

11. Encalypta streptocarpa, plant, calyptra, leaf, and capsule . 24 

12. Capsule of Pottia intermedia 24 

13. Andrecea alpina, plant, leaf, and leaf cells. Andreaa nivalis, 

plant, leaf, leaf cells, and capsule . . . . 25 

14. Indehiscent capsule of Phascum cuspidatum . . . .26 

15. Capsule of Grimmia .26 

16. Atrichum undulatum, plant, leaf, leaf cells, capsule . . 27 

17. Bartramia pomiformis, plant, capsule, calyptra .' .29 

1 8. Fissidens bryoides, plant, conduplicate leaf, male flower, and 

capsule i 9 . -30 

19. Grimmia pulvinata, plant, fruit, leaf. Grimmia orbicularis . 34 

20. Fissidens taxifolius, Funaria fas cicularis, Zygodon -viridissima, 

Orthotrichum affine . . - 3^ 

21. Mnium undulatum, Mnium hornum 37 

22. Polytrichtim formosum, fruit, calyptra, capsule, apophysis . 39 

23. Hypmim (Thuidium) tamariscinum, plant, leaf, papillae. . 41 



24. Dicranum scoparium, plant, calyptra, leaf, leaf cells . . 42 

25. Funaria hygrometrica, plant, calyptra, leaf, and leaf cells . 47 

26. Pottia cavifolia, plant, capsule, leaf, leaf nerve . . -49 

27. Bartramiafontana, plant, calyptra, capsule . . . -S3 

28. Mnium subglobosum, plant, capsule, leaf, leaf cells, synoicous 

flowers : ... 54 

29. Sphagnum cymbifolium, capsule . . . . . -55 

30. Sphagnum acutifolium, fruit, leaf, apex of leaf, leaf cell . . 56 

31. Pogonatum alpinum . . . . . . -59 

32. Barbula subulata, plant, peristome, leaf, and leaf cells . . 62 

33. Racomitrium canescens, fruit, peristome, operculum, calyptra, 

leaf . 63 

34. Ortkotrichum stramineum, plant, capsule, calyptra, operculum, 

leaf, leaf cells ........ 64 

35. Mnium punctalum. . 65 

36. Fontinalis antipyretica, plant and fruiting branch . . . 66 

37. Anomodon viticulosum . . 8l 

38. Atrichum undulatnm ........ 82 

39. Pogonatum urnigerum ... . . . . . .83 



Meek creatures ! the first mercy of the earth, visiting with hushed soft- 
ness its dintless rocks ; creatures full of pity, covering with strange 
and tender honour the scarred disgrace of ruin laying quiet finger 
on the trembling stones to teach them rest. No words, that I know 
of, will say what these mosses are. None are delicate enough, none 
perfect enough, none rich enough. How is one to telj of the rounded 
bosses of furred and beaming green, the starred divisions of rubied 
bloom, fine-filmed, as if the rock spirits could spin porphyry as we 
do glass, the traceries of intricate silver, and fringes of amber, 
lustrous, arborescent, burnished through every fibre into fitful bright- 
ness and glossy traverses of silken change, yet all subdued and pen- 
sive, and framed for simplest, sweetest offices of grace ? They will 
not be gathered, like the flowers, for chaplet or love-token ; but of 
these the wild bird will make its nest, and the wearied child his 

And, as the earth's first mercy, so they are its last gift to us : when all 
other service is vain from plant and tree, the soft mosses and grey 
lichen take up their watch by the head-stone. The woods, the 
blossoms, the gift-bearing grasses, have done their parts for a time ; 
but these do service for ever. Trees for the builder's yard, flowers 
for the bride's chamber, corn for the granary, moss for the grave. 
Ruskirfs "Modern Painters," vol. v., pp. 102, 103. 

A WALK through green fields, country lanes, or woods is 
rendered more enjoyable, and I believe more conducive 
to healthy exercise, if we have some special study to call us 
there, than such a walk would be if indulged in for the 
mere sake of what is termed a constitutional. For it is 
well to have something that will for a time enable us to for- 


get the every-day cares of a busy life ; and nothing is so 
likely to do this as some pursuit that not only engrosses 
the attention, but also gladdens the eye, that calls forth 
heal-thv . thought, . educates the observing faculties, and 
stirmilafres us vb.'f-ake a certain amount of invigorating 
exercise. . To any person with ordinary enthusiasm, inter- 
net, aiid t '&dustFy,:the study .of the mosses will yield all this 
and more. 

Too frequently these plants are neglected by even pro- 
fessed botanists. The investigation of them is considered 
to be too difficult, or too tedious, and often too expensive. 
That there are difficulties connected with the study all must 
admit, but none that a little patience and industry will not 
surmount ; the tedium of the study would evaporate after 
the first few hours' examination of these beautiful organ- 
isms, and the expense after the first outlay need not be 
more than a little extra wear and tear of one's shoe leather. 

To say that the study of these plants is interesting would 
be trite, for everything in beautiful nature is interesting, but 
the " dim world of weeping mosses " is wondrously interest- 
ing ; so varied in structure, in form, in mode of growth, in 
colour, covering the bosom of their mother earth with a 
green, velvety mantle when the cold winds of autumn and 
winter have robbed the trees of their beautiful foliage, and 
the nipping frosts have chilled into death their lovely sisters, 
the flowering plants, clothing with beauty the wayside bank, 
clinging with a tender embrace to their high-born kinsman 
the forest tree, bedecking with a thousand fairy urns the 
old ruined wall, covering with beautifully mingled masses 
of feathery Hypnum^ tufted Bryum^ or hoary Tortula^ of 
every shade of green, the rotting thatch of the ruined 
cottage, filling the treacherous bog with pale green Sphag- 
num or beautiful tussocks of noble looking Polytrichum, 
flourishing amid the unpleasant odours of the poison-breath- 
ing marsh, and climbing slowly but surely from the lowest 
valley to the snow line of the great mountain ! 

And were we to follow them in their daring scramble, 
and note them well, we should see that the mosses are, not 
only countless in numbers, but multitudinous in varieties 


and species; the moss flora of our own islands alone 
numbering about 140 genera and nearly 600 species, be- 
sides varieties without end. A superficial observer would 
probably be astonished if he were to have pointed out to 
him the varied species to be found upon a few square feet 
of a bank " with bright green mosses clad," because to him 
a moss is a moss and nothing more; and yet in such a 
limited area twenty or more species may often be found ; 
and many a district that at first sight seems able to yield 
but a poor moss flora may by a little diligence be proved 
to be quite prolific. A limited district of some 3,500 acres 
has yielded the writer nearly 130 species of these plants, all 
of them beautiful and some of them very rare. 

Then it must be remembered that mosses are easily pre- 
served, usually retain their special characters even when 
dried, may be prepared for the herbarium, and packed in 
comparatively small compass, and may be examined at any 
time ; for, however shrivelled they may have become by 
long keeping, a few minutes' soaking in tepid water will 
restore them to most of their former beauty, their lovely 
leaves again expand, the minute cells of which they are 
built are again filled with fluids, and with the aid of the 
microscope all their details may be made out as readily as 
though they had been gathered but an hour ago, so that for 
real and minute study this may truly be called a fireside 

For the sake of those who would wish to commence the 
study, but lack the knowledge how to begin, when and 
where to seek their plants, and how to distinguish them 
when found, these hints have been written, and I shall 
endeavour, as clearly as I can, to supply a few elementary 
lessons in moss collecting, etc. 


BEFORE beginning to collect, certain aids are required : 
these are few and simple. First, a bag or satchel of some 
kind for stowing away specimens as they are gathered. 
One of the canvas bags with a strap to sling over the 
shoulder, such as are now offered from a shilling upwards, 
will be serviceable and sufficient. Some pieces of good 
strong newspaper six to nine inches square will be required 
to wrap up each specimen separately as gathered. These 
papers should be numbered previous to starting out, using 
ink rather than pencil, for the mosses will often be wet, 
and pencil marks are then easily obliterated. In order to 
keep the tufts of moss clean and distinct too many should 
not be put into one paper. When the paper is filled and 
folded, the number of the package should be entered in the 
collector's notebook, with remarks as to habitat, locality, 
and date. Such, for instance, as this : " No. i. Marly 
bank, Tythall Lane, near Solihull. Formation, keuper marl. 
Feb. gth, 1878." And such other particulars as it may be 
well to remember. 

And here I may observe that at first it would be advis- 
able to collect those mosses only which have their fruit 
fully matured, and then, when these have been carefully 
examined and their distinguishing characters mastered, 
barren specimens may be collected ; for many of our rarest 
British mosses are more frequently found barren than fruit- 
ing, and they must not, of course, be neglected. As soon 
as home is reached, each of the packages should be opened, 
and, if time serves, roughly examined. If not, they should 
be placed in the opened papers on the floor of a room 
where they will be undisturbed, and allowed to get 


thoroughly dry. It will be advisable at the same time to 
place a slip of paper with each package containing a copy 
of the notes from notebook. When the specimens are dry 
they may be again wrapped up, and put by for an inde- 
finite time for future examination. If the mosses are 
allowed to dry in the unopened papers just as they are 
gathered they will be nearly certain to become mildewed, 
and will be very unsightly and useless, and thus the trouble 
of collecting will have been taken in vain. 

All these details may seem to make the preliminary work 
very tedious to the beginner, but he will soon get over any 
irksomeness he may at first feel, and he will be rewarded 
by his specimens being saved in good condition. 

FIG. I. Bryum caspiticium. i, plant natural size. 2, pendulous capsule ; a, mam- 
milatelid. 3, peristome ; a, inner membrane ; b, outer teeth. 4, areolation of leaf 

A pocket lens will be required for the examination of the 
plants in the field, one having a power of about ten dia- 
meters, i.e. about one inch focal length, will be found 
serviceable, and if with two powers, i.e. a one inch and a 
half inch focal length, still more so. These lenses, in horn 
and other fittings, may be obtained from all opticians, at 
i s. upwards, the price varying according to the finish of the 
article. If the School Microscope (mentioned p. 8) is 
obtained, one or more of the lenses supplied with it may 
be made to do service in the field ; but if so used, they 
should always be carried in a small chamois leather bag to 
protect from scratches. It is better however not to use 
them for this purpose. 


It is advisable to acquire the habit of noticing all the 
features of the mosses with the unassisted eye. The con- 
stant use of a lens is trying to the eyes, and I believe often 
materially injures them. Most of the ordinary details may 
be thus observed, such as the position of the leaves on the 
stem, general characters, etc., noticing whether they are 
erect, spreading, curved, or falcate, and so on, and their 
direction when in the dry state. This latter character is 
often a ready guide to nearly allied species. For instance, 
two mosses common on wall tops, Bryum capillare and 
B. ccespitirium (fig. i), both having many features in 
common when moist, differ materially in appearance when 
dry, the former having the leaves remarkably twisted, the 
latter straight and imbricated. Many other like instances 
might be cited. It is also well to acquire the habit of 
using the lens to advantage, as it is often possible to gain 
such a knowledge with this aid 'as will enable one to dis- 
pense with the further aid of the microscope. 

A good text -book will, of course, be indispensable. There 
are several to select from, published at various prices. For 
instance, Stark's " British Mosses," having twenty coloured 
plates, is offered for $s. ; but although very cheap, this is not 
to my thinking a satisfactory book, the descriptions are too 
vague to be useful ; still many of the more frequent mosses 
may be made out by its aid. Berkeley's " Handbook of 
British Mosses," with twenty-four coloured plates, costs 215-. 
new, but may frequently be obtained second-hand for about 
14$. This is a valuable work, and contains, in addition to 
the descriptive text, much matter of interest and value. Its 
greatest fault is, that the nomenclature is not in all cases 
that most generally adopted, and that the author gives us 
no synonyms. This, I think, is a serious fault, as it often 
leaves a tyro in uncertainty as to the name adopted by 
other authors. As a field book, and also of greatest value 
in the study, no English work I am acquainted with 
equals Hobkirk's "Synopsis of the British Mosses," pub- 
lished at 7^. 6dl, for cheapness and for correctness ; its only 
fault is the absence of plates, which cannot, of course, be 
expected in so cheap a book. A new edition of this work 


has recently appeared, and in this we have all the newest 
discoveries duly recorded and described ; the size is very 
convenient for the pocket. Wilson's " Bryologia Britan- 
nica " is invaluable ; but as it is out of print it can only be 
met with rarely in second-hand book catalogues, and the 
price ranges from three to six guineas, according to the con- 
dition of the book. In this the descriptions are excellent, 
being those of one of the most able bryologists this country 
has produced. Besides excellent descriptions, there are also 
figures of every moss described, and the later plates are 
very good. This work, having been published in 1855, is 
quite behind the time in some respects ; but a student who 
makes good use of this work will find that many of the diffi- 
culties surrounding the subject will be dispelled. Another 
very valuable work is Schimper's "Synopsis Muscorum Euro- 
paeorum " ; costs 28.$-., and contains descriptions of all the 
European species. In the second edition, published 1876, 
we have a fairly complete record of bryological discoveries 
so far as Europe is concerned. The work is entirely in 
Latin, and there are eight plates illustrative of the various 
genera. The descriptions are very ample, and the notes on 
the comparative characters of the various species remark- 
ably useful. 

Lesquereux and James' " Manual of American Mosses " 
will also be found of great assistance to British students, as 
it contains descriptions of at least two-thirds of our native 
mosses ; this costs 24^. But the most beautiful and valu- 
able work is the " British Moss Flora," by Dr. R. Braith- 
waite ; in this the various species are graphically described 
and illustrated, the illustrations being those of a master's 
hand. The work is being issued in parts, and when 
finished will be one of the best that has yet appeared. 

Every moss student requires a microscope, and, when 
possible, it is well to have a really good one. These instru- 
ments vary in price, a first-class microscope being an 
expensive luxury ; but there are some very good instru- 
ments to be obtained at most moderate prices. A great 
amount of good work may be done with even a cheap 
microscope ; in fact, much of the best work that has been 


done for science has been done with comparatively in- 
expensive instruments. 

The most useful cheap instrument I know, is Field's 
School Microscope, a very compact little instrument, having 
three simple lenses, which, separate or combined, give a 
magnifying power of from five to forty diameters. This, 
with the simple lenses, live box, needle, and other appli- 
ances, costs los. 6d, ; a compound body may be added for 
2s. 6d. extra. This will give powers of from twenty to 
eighty diameters. It is well to have this compound body at 
first, as the cabinet is then made of sufficient size to hold 
the compound body and all the other apparatus. For an 
additional 2s. 6d. a Wollaston doublet may be added ; and, 
as this lens is a combination of plano-convex lenses placed 
in such a manner and of such a focus as to reduce 
chromatic and spherical aberrations, for i$s. 6d., it is 
possible to possess a microscope nearly achromatic, giving 
a power of 120 diameters, which is sufficient for almost all 
the work which the young botanist will have to do. All my 
own earliest work in mosses was done with this instrument, 
and I believe I learned more by its aid than I have ever 
done with the more expensive instruments I have since used. 
As a simple microscope it will always be useful for dis- 
secting and mounting purposes, and I can say with con- 
fidence, that the student who has acquired all the knowledge 
of structure that this cheap little instrument will place with- 
in his reach will have gained such an insight into the moss 
world as will enable him to determine with a little patience 
the most difficult of mosses. 




IN the last chapter the material and apparatus required 
for the collecting and study of these plants were treated 
of. In the present I purpose giving some account of the 
development of mosses. 

Mosses are cellular plants, having distinct stems, leaves, 
and roots (the Sphagnums, or bog-mosses, are exceptional, 
as they do not possess roots) ; they have a capsular fruit, 
and are developed from spores (scedlike contents of ripe 
capsule, fig. 2, i), or gemmae (cellular bodies capable of be- 
coming plants fig. 2 d). 


FIG. 2 
a, stem 

2. i, spores of moss. 2, "gemmiform state of Aulacomnion andrqgynum ; 
; b, stalk ; c, gemmae. 2 d, one of the gemmae detatched and magnified. 

The spores are minute, round, cellular bodies, varying in 
size, colour, and external marking, and are composed of 



two membranes or coats, an inner and an outer one, in- 
closing a thickened granular mass. Though similar in 
function to the seeds of flowering plants, they differ from 
those organs, in being capable of germinating from any part 
of their surface, and in possessing no embryo (the young 
plant contained in the seed) ; hence plants developed from 
spores are termed Acotyledons (Gr. a, without, and kotu- 
ledon, a seed-lobe). The spores which are formed in the 
capsule are the bodies from which the moss-plant is nor- 
mally developed. 

But many even of our common mosses rarely produce 
their fruit, and are perpetuated in other ways; as, for 
instance, by gemmae, which may be seen forming little 
globular heads (2 c) on the top of a pale, naked stalk (2 b) in 
Aulacomnion androgynum (2), so frequent on wayside banks; 
or from thread-like cellular bodies, abundant on the leaves 
of some mosses, Orthotrichum Lyellii, for instance, frequent 
on poplars, elms, etc. ; or from bud-like bodies formed in 
the axils of the leaves, as in Bryum annotinum, found on 
sandy banks ; or even detached leaves may give origin to a 
new plant, as in Campy lopus pyriformis, frequent on heath 

When the spores germinate, they give rise to a green, 
thread-like body, called the protonema (fig. 3 b), which is 
formed by the protrusion of the inner membrane of the 
spore through the outer one. This, by frequent cell- 
division, becomes elongated and branched. The primary 
branch, at first green, frequently turns brown, and, in some 
cases, penetrates the ground and performs the function of a 
root. The secondary branches are well charged with chloro- 
phyll (green, granular matter in the interior of the cell), and 
branch frequently. On various parts of the protonema 
bud-like bodies arise. These are the rudimentary moss- 
plant. From the buds roots are sent down into the medium 
on which they grow. By frequently repeated cell-division 
these buds develop into the leafy moss-stem. Mosses, like 
ferns, horsetails, etc., grow at the apex only, and are hence 
termed Acrogens (plants which increase at the summit only). 

The protonema, which looks very like masses of green 



conferva, may be seen forming a velvety mass on the 
ground in the neighbourhood of mosses ; and if a portion 
of such masses is examined with the microscope, all the 
stages of growth may frequently be seen. In most mosses 
the protonema is short-lived, perishing before the moss- 
plant is fully grown ; but in some of the lower' forms, as in 
Phascum serratum (fig. 3), it lasts throughout the plant's 
lifetime. This moss may be found in fallow fields in 
autumn and spring. The gemmae before mentioned ger- 
minate much in the same way as the spores, forming first 
the thread-like protonema, upon which the leafy stem is 

FIG. 3. Phascum (Ephemerum) serratum. i, plant enlarged ; i a, capsule : i b 
protonema. 2, leaf enlarged, showing loose cellular tissue (areolation). 

The stem varies in length considerably ; in some mosses 
it is imperceptible without a lens, as in Phascum serratum^ 
but in many others it is very apparent. It may be erect, as 
in Polytrichum ; or prostrate, as in some of the Hypnums, 
or feather-mosses ; simple, as in Pottia (fig. 4) \ or branched, 
as in Hypnum (fig. 5). In some of the terminal-fruited 
mosses it branches by what are termed innovations ; these 
are extensions of the stem, often arising at the top of the 
old stem, and such branching is usually forked, each fork 
representing a year's growth. This mode of branching may 
be seen in many Bryums and other mosses ; a convenient 



example occurs in Grimmia pulvinata (fig. 19), the little 
hoary, cushion-like patches of which may be seen on wall- 
tops and thatch. 

The stem and branches are more or less densely clothed 
with leaves, which are always simple (undivided), and vary 
in shape from awl-shaped to round, the most frequent forms 
being lance-shaped, or oval. The leaves vary in structure, 
but are usually formed of a single layer of cells \ exceptions 
occur, as in Leucobryum ; in this case the leaves are formed 
of three layers of cells. 

FIG. 4. Pottia truncata. i, plant slightly enlarged. 2, obliquely rostrate 
operculum ; a, columella, which remains attached to lid, and falls away with it, 
3, tip of leaf ; a, upper leaf cells ; 3 b, cells of base of leaf. 

The cells forming the leaf assume a variety of forms, but 
may be referred to two types I. Parenchymatous (having 
the cells placed end to end), as in Pottia^ etc. (fig. 4, 3 b) ; 
II. Prosenchymatous (Jiaving cells which overlap one another 
at their ends) ; these have pointed ends, and are longer than 
broad, as in Hypnum (fig. 5,40, and fig. i, 4). The study 
of these leaf-cells is one of great importance, as the generic 
and specific differences of many mosses are often made out 
by the character of the cells forming the leaf. Among other 
forms assumed by cells we have round (fig. 34, 4 a), as in 
Orthotrichum ; quadrate, as in Pottia (fig. 4, 3 b) ; hexagonal, 
as in Tetraphis ; oblong, as in Isothecium ; rhomboid, as in 


Bryum (fig. i, 4), etc. The cells at the base of the leaf 
are frequently of different form from those of the upper part 
of the leaf, and are often colourless and transparent. 

The centre of the leaf is often occupied by elongated 

FIG. 5. Hvpnnm rutaluluw. i, a plant natural size, showing pleurocarp ous 
inflorescence. 2, fruit magnified, showing 2 a, conical operculum ; 2 b, rough seta, or 
fruit-stalk ; 2 c, recurved perichsetial leaves. 3, fringe, or peristome ; a, inner 
peristome ; b, outer peristome. 4, stem leaf ; 4 a, cells of leaf highly magnified. 

cells, forming what is called the nerve or midrib (fig. 5, 4). 
This nerve is usually simple, but may be forked, as in 
Isotkecium mynrum ; or there may be two nerves, as in 
Hypnum triquetrum, common on marly banks ; or the leaves 


may be nerveless, as in Hypnum stellatum. The nerve is 
of variable length, in some cases vanishing below the tip of 
the leaf, in others projecting beyond the tip and forming a 
short point or mucro, as in Tortula marginata ; or it may 
form a long, transparent, hair-like point, as in Tortula muralis, 
a moss very frequent on wall-tops. 

The leaves are placed spirally upon the stem and 
branches, their arrangement being various, as \ or distichous 
in Fissidens, \ or tristichous in Anccctangium, fths in 
Pottia, or f as in Bryum. Their direction is variable, and 
it is advisable to pay attention to this. Sometimes they are 
crowded and imbricate (overlapping like tiles), as in Bryum 
argenteum, common on walls ; or they may be spreading, as 
in Tortula fallax, which may be seen on sandy or clayey 
banks. In some species secund (curved to one side), as in 
Dicranella heteromalla, frequent on wayside banks ; in others 
remarkably recurved at the tips, or what is termed squarrose, 
as in Hypnum squarrosum, to be found on heath lands and 
in woods. 

When dry the direction of the leaves is often very dif- 
ferent from that assumed when the plant is moist. Thus in 
Bryum capillare the leaves are spreading when moist, but 
much twisted when dry ; in Tortula spadicea much spread- 
ing when moist, but closely imbricate when dry : but ex- 
perience will soon show that these characters vary in 
different species of moss. The margin of the leaf (fig. 
5, 4) is sometimes plane, at others formed of a double row 
of cells, and hence thickened, as in Tortula marginata / in 
some cases entire, in others variously toothed. In some 
species, Weissia controversa, for instance, it is involute 
(rolled over towards the upper surface); in others re volute 
(rolled over towards the lower surface), as in Tortula revoluta, 
to be found on wall tops ; or the leaf may be rolled upon 
itself from side to side, or convolute, as in the leaves sur- 
rounding the base of the fruit-stalk of Tortula convoluta^ and 
in some cases, as in Atrichum undulatum, the margin is 
undulated. The leaf-surface is usually smooth, but in some 
species, such as Thuidium tamariscinum (fig. 23, 2 ), it is 
covered with minute projections, and is termed papillose. 


The leaves vary in colour, being of every shade of green, 
in some cases reddish, in others brown, or again, as in 
Leucobryum glaucum, nearly white. 

Mosses are often termed flowerless plants, which is a 
misnomer, as both male and 
female flowers occur on these 
plants, and may readily be 
found in most species when the 
leafly stem has arrived at ma- 
turity. In many of our mosses, 
as in the Bryums and Poly- 
trichums, they occur as star-like 
bodies at the top of the stem ; 
in others, such as the common 
Hypnum rutabulum^ both male 
and female flowers may be 
found as bud-like bodies in the 
axils of the stem-leaves. In 
the bog-mosses, or Sphagnums^ 
they occur in pendulous cat- 
kins, which are often tinged 
with red or brown. 

If these flowers are dissec- 
ted, it will be seen that they 
consist of a number of leaves 
surrounding or enveloping the 
organs of reproduction, the 
Antheridia (fig. 6 A), (bodies 
which perform the function of 
an anther), i.e. the male; or 
the Archegonia (fig. 7 2?), 
(bodies which perform the func- 
tion of a pistil or ovary\ i.e. the 
female reproductive bodies. 

The leaves surrounding the 
antheridia form what is termed 

the perigonium (that which surrounds the male organ) ; 
those surrounding the archegonia form the perigynium 
(that which surrounds the female organ). The male flowers 

6. Fttnaria hygrome- 
A, an antheridium burst- 
ing ; a, the antherozoids ( x 350). 
, the antherozoids more strongly 
magnified ; b, the mother cell ; c, 
free antherozoids of Polytrichum 
( x 800). 


are sometimes developed in the axils of the ordinary leaves, 
and have no perigonium, as in Sphagnum. 

Mosses are said to be synoicous when male and female 
organs occur in the same enveloping leaves (fig. 28, 4), 
as in Mnium subglobosum; monoicous when these organs 
occur in different buds on the same plant, as in Hypnum 
rutabulum; dioicous when the male organs occur on one 
plant and the female on another plant of the same species, 
as in Ceratodon purpureus. 

The antheridia (fig. 6 A), are sac- or sausage- shaped 
bodies, and are usually surrounded by a number of thread- 
like jointed bodies, called the paraphyses (Gr. para, beside, 
and phuo, I grow). The function of these bodies is probably 
that of nutrition. In the Sphagnums these paraphyses are 
absent, and the antheridia are very differently shaped, con- 
sisting of a short stalk, surmounted by a globular head, 
the antherozoids being developed in the globular head; 
these antheridia may be readily obtained by carefully dis- 
secting away the leaves of the catkins, which are usually 
reddish or brown, and often occur near the summit of the 
stem. If the antheridia of ordinary mosses are examined 
microsopically with a J or -i-inch objective, they will be 
seen to contain a number of closely packed cellules, and in 
each of these cellules a spiral, thread-like body may be seen. 
This spiral body is the antherozoid, or fertilizing principle 
of the antheridium ; and, supposing that the antheridium is 
ripe, a very slight pressure of the cover glass will cause it to 
burst at the apex, and the inclosed cellules will be seen 
swarming out with a sort of jerky motion (fig. 6 a). In a 
few minutes the cellulose coat of the cellules is dissolved, 
and the spiral bodies, the antherozoids (fig. 6 c), thus liber- 
ated, commence moving about in the water, much like 
some infusoria. 

This beautiful sight may be seen readily, and the star-like 
male flowers of Polytrichum are the most easily examined. 
These should be got about the end of May or in June. 
The outer leaves of the flowers should be dissected away, 
and some of the ripe antheridia should be examined in 
water with the 4-ioth or J-irich objectives. 


The archegonia (fig. 7 ) t 
the Sphagnums, are also 
surrounded by paraphyses, 
are somewhat flask-shaped 
bodies, the upper part con- 
sisting of a slender neck, the 
lower part being somewhat 
pear-shaped. In the centre 
of the pear-shaped body, and 
near the top, is a small cavity, 
within which a nucleated cell 
is developed, called the oos- 
phere(fig.7,^^)j and after the 
archegonium has acquired 
some size, a closed canal will 
be seen passing down the 
neck, into that part of the 
pear-shaped body in which 
the oosphere (fig. l,J3b) is 
situated. After a while, as 
growth goes on, the cells 
bounding the top of the neck 
fall away, thus leaving an 
open passage down the canal 
to the oosphere. Down this 
canal the antherozoids pass, 
and reaching at length the 
oosphere bring about im- 

After impregnation has 
taken place cell-division com- 
mences in the oosphere, and 
continues until by frequent 
repetition the sporogonium 
is formed. During this time 
the archegonium increases in 
size, the sporogonium (fig. 8, 
J5f) growing longitudinally, 
the base of the archegonium. 

which, with the exception of 

FIG. 7. Funaria hygrometrica. 
A , longitudinal section of the sum- 
mit of weak female plant ( x 100 ); a, 
archegonia ; b, leaves. B, an arche- 
gonium ( X 550) ; b, ventral portion 
with the centre cell ; k, neck ; tn, 
mouth still closed. C, the part near 
the mouth of the neck of a fertilized 
archegonium, with dark-red cell 

and striking deep down into 
This continued upward and 



downward pressure on the delicate tissues of the arche- 
gonium causes it to rupture near the base ; the upper part 
being carried upwards by the growing sporogonium (fig. 8, 
B <r), forms the hood or calyptra, the lower part is left sur- 

FIG. 8. A , origin of the sporogonium. ff in the ventral portion of the arche- 
gonium (longitudinal section x 500). B, C.different further stages of development of 
the sporogonium,./; and of the calyptra, c ; h, neck of the archegonium ( x about 40). 

rounding the base of the sporogonium and forming a sheath, 
which is called the vaginula (Lat, a little sheath). At the 
top of the sporogonium the capsule is formed, within whicl: 
the spores are developed. 


If longitudinal and transverse sections of the unripened 
capsules of ^mosses, in various stages of growth, be cut for 
microscopical examination,* these will form valuable aids 
to the study of the growth and development of the capsule 
and the spores. 

If a good section is made through a fully formed but 
unripened capsule of Funaria, care being taken to choose a 
nice, plump, green specimen, and this section be examined 
with a power of about 140 dia- 
meters or more, the structures to 
be observed will be as follows : 

Beginning with the outer por- 
tion of the section, there is first 
a single layer of cells, forming 
the outer wall of the capsule (fig. 
9 /). These are thick- walled 
cells, which become hardened as 
the fruit ripens, are truly cuticu- 
lar, and have occurring among 
them at intervals stomata, similar 
to those found on the cuticle of 
the leaves of flowering plants. 
These cells in ripening are often 
deeply coloured, assuming in the 
different species various shades 
of brown, yellow, purple, at times 
almost black, and in some cases 
blood red. The next layer or 
lining membrane of the capsule 
is formed of two or more series 
of large, thin-walled, spongy 
cells, more or less filled with 
the green chlorophyll granules. 

Next after this is the air cavity (fig. 9 ti). This air cavity 
is intersected by numerous jointed alga-like cells, richly 
charged with chlorophyll. These are attached to the lining 


FIG. 9. Funariahygrometrica. 
Longitudinal section of the theca 
or capsule, bisecting it symme- 
trically ; d, operculum ; a, an- 
nulus ; c, columella ; h, air cavity; 
s, the primary mother cells of the 
spores ; f, outer wall of capsule ; 
/, peristome, or fringe. 

* Directions for cutting these sections will be found in the last 
chapter of this work. 


membrane of the capsule, and proceed from that to the 
central body, the columella (fig. 9 c), to which they are 
attached in every direction, their function being that of 
holding this in position until the delicate band of cells 
clothing its outer side are properly developed. The alga- 
like cells are absorbed before the capsule arrives at maturity. 

Occupying the centre of the capsule, and suspended from 
the operculum, is a central mass, which consists of two dis- 
tinct layers of cells; the first and outer layer being that 
forming the mother cells of the spore band (fig. 9 s\ and the 
inner mass forming the columella (fig. 9 c). The mother cells 
of the spores occur as a band or layer of small, opaque cells 
richly charged with protoplasm, in which is embedded the 
nucleus. The nucleus, which cannot always be detected 
without the use of proper re-agents, is attached by proto- 
plasmic threads to the walls of the containing cell. The 
band of mother cells of the spores may sometimes be 
obtained in ribbon-like plates, by pressing the capsule 
between two glass slips, as in Tortula Iczvipila; but in most 
instances it breaks up under such treatment. At first each 
of the mother cells of the spores is filled with protoplasm ; 
but this granular mass soon becomes divided into four 
masses, each of which secretes an outer cell wall, and by 
their growth the original cell wall of the mother cell is 
absorbed ; they then become free from their attachment to 
the columella, and float freely in a mucous fluid, which 
together with them fills the cavity of the capsule. The cells 
thus formed are the spore mother cells, and these, by a 
merismatic division of the cell contents, each gives origin 
to four masses, which in their turn secrete a new cell wall, 
and by their growth absorb the containing cell wall and 
become the spores. The mucous fluid is absorbed during 
growth. In many bryums and orthotrichums the primary 
cell wall still remains attached until the spores are nearly 
ripened, holding the spores together, even when fully formed, 
by these threads of the old cell wall. 

Much interesting information on this head may be gained 
by examining the inner contents of capsules in the various 
stages of growth, and this may be most conveniently done 


by pressing out these contents between two glass slips. The 
contents should be examined in water, and, if desired as a 
permanent record, may be mounted in glycerine or one of 
the compounds of that agent. 

The columella (fig. 9 c), or central mass, hangs, as it were, 
from the lid of the capsule, and is held in position by the 
chains of alga-like cells, which are attached to it in all parts. 
This columella is formed of large, pale, parenchymatous, thin- 
walled cells ; originally it fills the whole centre of the cap- 
sule, but is afterwards divided from the cell walls by the 
differentiation of certain of the cells to form the mother cells 
of the spores and by the air cavity. After the spore mother- 
cells are formed, the columella usually perishes or shrivels 
up, the whole cavity of the capsule being filled with the 
spores. But in some cases it is persistent, as in the sub- 
genus Schistidium and in Pottia, where it remains attached 
to and falls away with the lid (fig. 4, 2 a), and in the genus 
Polytrichum, where, whilst the lower portion perishes, the 
upper portion still remains, forming the beautiful diaphragm 
which closes the mouth of the capsule in this genus (fig. 15, 


Examining the section still further, we notice that at its 
apex is a dome-like series of thickened cells; this is the 
operculum (fig. 9 d} as seen in section. Immediately at the 
base of the operculum, and, as it were, separating it from 
the mouth of the capsule, is a row of peculiar cells, forming 
the annulus (fig. go) ; but these cells are only distinctly seen 
when the section is very thin, and with the higher magnify- 
ing powers of the ^ or J-inch objective. The cells forming 
the annulus are very elastic when mature, and by their 
expansion throw off the operculum. The annulus is some- 
times formed of a single, sometimes of a double row of 
cells, and is sometimes absent, as in Tortula anguiculata^ 
its presence or absence often forming an important aid to 
the determination of nearly allied species. Proceeding from 
the top of the air cavity, and inclosed by the operculum, 
are the layers of cells forming the peristome (fig. 9 p\ the 
outer peristome proceeding and originating from the lining 
membrane of the capsule, and the inner one from the outer 


layer of cells of the spore sac. These two layers of cells, 
when ripened, form those beautiful fringes which adorn the 
mouths of many moss capsules, but in many other species 
the peristome is absent or very rudimentary ; their presence 
or absence, or whether single or double, are useful in the 
discrimination of genera, and a study of their structure is in 
some cases a valuable aid to the determination of species. 

By virtue of the insertion of the fruit-stalk, mosses are 
divided into two sections, Acrocarpi, or those mosses which 
have the fruit-stalk terminating the main stem (fig. 4), as 
in Pottia truncata and Pleu-rocarpi, or those mosses which 
have the fruit-stalk arising from the side of the stem (fig. 5), 
as in Hypnum rutabulum. 

The fruit-stalk, which is always present, varies in length ; 
in some cases, as in Phascum serratum, it is very short ; in 
other cases it may be long and conspicuous ; it is usually 
smooth, but sometimes the surface is distinctly roughened 
or granulated, as in Hypnum rutabulum (fig 5, 2 b). It may 
be straight or variously curved. 

The base of the fruit-stalk is surrounded by leaves, which 
in some species differ remarkably in both form and structure 
from the other leaves of the plant (fig. 5, 2 c). These are 
the perichaetial leaves, and the character of these leaves 
often forms a special feature in the description of mosses. 
If these leaves are carefully removed, it will be seen that 
the base of the fruit-stalk is surrounded by a membranous 
sheath, the vaginula, already mentioned; this is usually 
smooth, but in some species it is more or less clothed with 
hair-like processes, and these minute differences are in some 
cases great aids in the discrimination of nearly allied 

At the top of the fruit-stalk is the capsule, or urn ; and 
this organ presents great variety in its form, in some cases 
globose, Phascum cuspidatum ; pear shaped, Leptobryum 
pyriforme ; cylindrical, Tortula aloides ; straight, curved, or 
erect, Tetraphis pellutida ; cernuous (curved to one side), as 
in Hypnum rutabulum (fig. 5) ; or pendulous, as in many of 
the Bryums; it may be smooth, striated, or furrowed. 

In some species the capsule is swollen all round at the 


base, and this swollen part is called the apophysis (fig. io<r), 
as in Splachnum ampullaceum ; this apophysis may be seen 
at the base of the capsules of Polytrichum commune, but not 
so exaggerated as in Splachnum; sometimes the swelling 
is confined to a little bulging out of one side of the base 
of the capsule, as in Dicranum falcatum, or in Dicranella 
cerviculata, or Ceratodon purpureus, 
&c.; the capsule is then said to be 

The capsule is surmounted by a 
membranous hood called the calyp- 
tra, already mentioned as being 
developed ifrom the upper portion of 
the fertilized archegonium (fig. 11,2; 
fig. 12, 3). In some genera, such as 
the Bryums, this hood falls away 
early, and hence is not seen upon 
the mature capsule; but in many 
other genera, such as Tortula, Hyp- 
num, etc., it is persistent and may 
readily be seen. In the act of sepa- 
ration from the lower part of the 
archegonium, or vaginula, the calyp- 
tra is sometimes irregularly torn at 
its base, as in Grimmia apocarpa, or 
it may be evenly torn, as in Encalypta 
vulgaris. In both cases the calyptra 
is termed mitriform or mitre-shaped 
(fig. n, 2). In many other mosses it 
is slit up one side, and is then said to 
be dimidiate (fig. 12, 3), (Lat, dimi- 
dium, a half ), or it may be inflated, 

as in Funaria; and these characters are constant. Usually its 
outer surface is smooth, but in some species it is papillose, 
and in others more or less densely clothed with hairs, as in 
Orthotrichum and Polytrichum. 

The mouth of the capsule is closed with a little lid called 
the operculum, and between the lid and the mouth of the 
capsule a ring of minute, highly hygroscopic ceils frequently 

FIG. 10. Splachnum am- 
pullaceum. i, plant natural 
size. 2, fruit enlarged ; a, 
peristome ; b, cylindrical 
capsule ; c, obovate apophy- 

2 4 


occurs, called the annulus (Lat, a ring). The function of 
this ring is that of casting off the lid when the spores are 
ripened, and thus aiding their dispersion; but in many 
mosses, such as Tortula unguiculata, there is no annulus, 

FIG. ii. Encalypta streptocarpa. i, plant natural size. 2, mitriform calyptra. 
3, fruit ; a, subulate lid ; 4, leaf magnified. 

and the lid is then cast off by the swelling of the contents 
of the capsule. The operculum is not always present, and 
here nature adopts other means to bring about the disper- 

FIG. 12. Urn or capsule of Pottia intermedia, i, naked mouth of urn. 2, beaked 
or rostrate lid (operculum). 3, dimidiate calyptra. 

sion of the spores ; in the Andreseas, or split-mosses (fig. 13), 
the capsule splits into four valves (fig. 13, 5), and in the 
Phascums (fig. 14, i), or earth-mosses, the capsule bursts 


irregularly, or rots away, and in its decay liberates the 

The lid or operculum varies in form, being sometimes 
convex, as in many of the Bryums, or conical (fig. 15, 3), as 
in Physcomitrium pyriforme, Tetraphis pellucida, etc. ; or it 
may be rostrate (beaked) (fig. 12, 2), as in Dicranella hetero- 
malla, etc. 

FIG. 13. Andreaa alpina. i, plant natural size. 2, nerveless leaf magnified, 
z a, apex of same, to show dot-like, thick walled upper cells. 

A ndrecea nivalis. 3, plant natural size. 4, nerved leaf enlarged ; 4 a, apex of same 
to show areolation. 5, capsule bursting (dehiscing) by four valves. 

When the lid is removed, or has been cast off naturally, 
the inner structure of the capsule may be seen, and in some 
mosses, such as Pottia truncata, the mouth will be found to 
be naked, but in many other cases it will be seen to be 
surrounded by a delicate, fringe-like appendage, called the 
peristome (fig. 15, 2), (Gr. peri, around, and stoma, a mouth). 
This fringe consists of minute tooth-like processes, which 


are always some multiple of 4 in number, from 4 to 64, and 
the number is always constant in the species. This fringe 
may be either single (fig. 15, 2), or double ; that is, there may 

FIG. 14. i, indehiscent capsule of Phascum cuspidatum. 2, dimidiate calyptra. 

be an outer (fig. 5, 3 b) and an inner row (fig. 5, 3 a) of these 
tooth-like processes. The teeth of the peristome vary in 
form and structure; in some cases, as in certain of the 
Weissias, they are very rudimentary; in others, as in 

FIG. 15. Capsule of Grimmia. i, urn. 2, peristome. 3, conical lid or operculum. 

Funaria, they are elaborately developed, and beautifully 
marked with transverse and longitudinal striae or markings. 
The teeth are often simple, but may be cloven, as in 
Dicranella heteromalla; sometimes straight, as in Didymodon 
rubellus ; or much twisted, as in Tortula muralis, etc. In 
the Polytrichums the mouth of the capsule is closed by a 
beautifully reticulated diaphragm (fig. 16, 3 a), to which the 


teeth of the peristome are attached. This is peculiar to the 
family of Polytrichaceae, so far as British mosses are con- 

The study of the development of mosses is one of very 
great interest, and worthy of the attention of all biological 
students. Space is too limited to allow the matter to be 
dealt with here in anything like fulness, and I must there- 

FIG. 16. Atrichum undulatum. i, plant natural size. 2, leaf enlarged; 2 a, 
apex of same more highly magnified. 2 b, middle of same, to show areolation 
and lamellate nerve. 3, a portion of the fruit enlarged ; a, diaphragm or drum ; 
b, peristome; c, capsule. 

fore refer those students who desire fuller information to 
that grand work of Hofmeister's (Ray Society's publications) 
on the " Germination, Development, and Fructification of the 
Higher Cryptogamia," pp. 129-18.1, where a most elaborate 
and exhaustive account will be found. 



THE habitats or natural homes of mosses are very varied. 
In fact, mosses may be found everywhere in country dis- 
tricts, so that banks, trees, woods, fields, heath lands, walls, 
marshes, bogs, and other watery places, all have their several 
mossy inhabitants. Though in many instances mosses show 
some degree of preference for particular habitats, no positive 
line of demarcation can be drawn with regard to the habitats 
of some species. Ceratodon, for example, seems to be at 
home in every locality, whilst others, such as the Sphagnums 
and many of the Orthotrichums, etc., are truly selective with 
regard to their haunts. Hence I can only indicate the 
most likely mosses to be found in particular habitats. In 
many instances the same plants may be found flourishing 
in equal abundance in a variety of habitats. I have already 
mentioned Ceratodon purpureus as a moss to be found 
everywhere. It is abundant on heathy waysides, and on old 
walls, thatched roofs, and even on trees it is no less plentiful, 

Banks, whether sandy, marly, or calcareous, are the 
favourite haunts of many mosses, and if we examine a damp 
sandy bank between February and April we shall be almost 
sure to find the dark-green, silky masses of Dicranella 
heteromalla, easily known by its terminal fruit- stalk, which 
is pale in colour and is abruptly bent back just below the 
capsule. The leaves will be found to be very narrow and 
all curved in one direction, and the capsule surmounted by 
a lid having a longish beak ; the peristome or fringe con- 
sists of sixteen teeth, each of which is split half way down. 

In like places we shall also find Weissia controversy 
which has straighter leaves, with the margins rolled over 
towards the upper surface, erect oval capsules, lid with a 
long, straight beak, and a fringe of sixteen rudimentary 


teeth; when dry, the leaves will be found to be much 
twisted. Smaller tufts of the apple moss, Bartramia pomi- 
formis, may also be found, and it may be known, even when 
barren, by its glaucous, green foliage (fig. 17). The capsules 
of this moss are apple shaped, and surmounted by a slightly 
convex lid. The fruit ripens in early summer. 

Hypnnm prcelongum will be frequently seen fruiting about 
November, but very often barren. In the barren state it 
may be known by its long, trailing, feathery stems, which 
however vary very much in habit. When in fruit it will be 
known by its long, roughened fruit-stalks -(which are lateral, 
as in all Hypnums), curved capsules, and lid with a long, 
curved beak ; the fringe is in two rows, an outer one formed 

FIG. 17. Bartramia pomiformis. i, plant natural size. 2, ribbed capsule en- 
larged. 3, dimidiate calyptra. 

of sixteen teeth, and an inner, paler, membranous one, 
divided into sixteen tooth-like processes. Hypnum rutabu- 
lum, another of the feather mosses, is more robust, has heart- 
shaped leaves, roughened fruit-stalk, and a shorter conical 
lid (fig. 5). Hypnum velutinum is much smaller, and has 
narrower, lance-shaped leaves, and is more velvety looking ; 
whilst Hypnum confertum, which is constantly associated 
with the above, has a smooth fruit-stalk, and lid with a 
longish, curved beak. 

Many other mosses will also usually be found in like habi- 
tats ; such as Plagiothecium denticulatum, which will be found 
on damp sandy banks and hedge bottoms, forming large, 
spreading, pale-green glossy, masses. It will be noticeable 
for its flattened (complanate) leaves, usually growing in two 


opposite rows, with an abundance of purple fruit-stalks, 
capped by the slightly inclined capsule, which has a conical 
lid. The fruit-stalks are usually inserted near the base of 
the stem, and examination with a lens will show the male 
flowers immediately below the fertile flowers. Hypnum 
purum will also frequently be found in such places, growing 
in great, scrambling masses. This moss has a beautifully 
pinnate stem ; the leaves are pellucid, light, glossy green, 
very concave, blunt, and terminated by an abrupt, recurved 
point. The fruit, which is very rare, must be looked for in 
November. On the lower part of these banks, coating any 
stray stone, or broken bough or tree root, and forming 
dense, matted patches of bright green, Amblestegium serpens 
will be frequent. This is a minute species, with abundant 

FIG. 18. Fissidens bryoides. i, plant slightly enlarged. 2, conduplicate leaf 
much enlarged ; 2 a, axillary male flower ; 2 a', the same more highly magnified ; 
2 a", antheridia. 3, capsule ; 3 a, slightly beaked (rostellate) lid. 

thread-like branches ; it will usually be found in abundant 
fruit, a noticeable character being the little white calyptra 
which surmounts the capsule. This will be in good fruit 
about April or May. 

_Marly and clayey banks will yield such mosses as Fissidens 
bryotdes (fig. 18, i), a very beautiful little moss, known by its 
flattened foliage, with leaves on opposite sides of the stem, 
looking very fern-like, fruit-stalk arising from the top of the 
stem and surmounted by an erect reddish capsule, with a 
cone-shaped lid, and a fringe of sixteen bifid teeth. The 
fruit of this moss ripens from October to the end of the 
year. A larger species, Fissidens taxifolius, will frequently 
occur with this j but the fruit-stalk arises from the base of 


the stem, the capsule is somewhat curved, and has a longish 
beak (fig. 20, upper fig.); fruit ripe in November. A 
species similar to P. bryoides is also frequent in Warwick- 
shire ; this is readily distinguished from it by the capsule, 
which is curved to one side. This is Fissidens incurvus. 
This species ripens its fruit about February or March. 

Another moss, frequent on banks such as I have described, 
is Tortula unguiculata. It may be known by its somewhat 
tongue-shaped leave:, terminated by a small mucro or point, 
and having the margin recurved, or turned towards the 
lower surface ; the fringe of the peristome consists of thirty- 
two spirally twisted teeth. It fruits from December to 
April. A close ally, Tortula fallax, not unfrequent, has 
leaves tapering from the base, a more curved capsule, and 
fringe also twisted. Another frequenter of marly banks is 
the minute Dicranella varia, which occurs in patches of a 
reddish green colour. It has narrowly lance-shaped nearly 
erect leaves. The capsule is small and slightly inclined to 
one side, and the conical lid has a very short beak ; the 
fringe consists of sixteen deeply divided teeth. It fruits 
about November. 

A more rare species, Dicranella rufescens, will occasion- 
ally be found growing with this, and may be distinguished 
by the erect capsule and more conical lid or operculum. 
Under the microscope the leaves will be found to have a 
different texture j those of D. varia having narrow close 
cells, whilst D. rufescens has large, pellucid cells, the leaf- 
margin is toothed or serrated, and the whole plant has a 
more or less reddish hue. In northern districts, the clay 
banks will occasionally yield the very interesting Discelium 
nudum, which may attract attention by its dense masses of 
confervoid-like protonema, in which will be seen scattered 
patches of tufted leaves. The stem being almost absent, 
these little tufts are dull green, or sometimes, after severe 
weather, of a reddish tinge. But about March the attention 
will be arrested by the abundant reddish, wavy fruit-stalks, 
bearing at their summit a somewhat drooping capsule, which 
has a slightly beaked lid ; and these fruit-stalks will appear 
the more singular because, owing to the very slight develop- 


ment of the stem, they appear to arise from amidst the 
confervoid mass above mentioned, and seem at first sight to 
have no leaves. 

Dry banks in maritime situations should be searched for 
the somewhat rare Tortula atro-virens . The stems are 
short, forming dense tufts. The leaves are broad, concave, 
with a slight point, and slightly spreading when moist, con- 
torted or twisted when dry. The most noticeable feature 
is the strong, spongy leaf-nerve, curiously thickened in the 
upper part. The fruit-stalk is terminal, short, capsule oval, 
shining, lid slightly beaked, peristome single, of sixteen teeth. 
Fruiting in March. 

Marly banks will also yield Camptotherium lutescens, a 
fine moss, growing in rather loose yellowish-green or fulvous 
masses. Stems more or less prostrate, branched and spread- 
ing ; leaves bright yellowish-green, loosely imbricated, lance- 
shaped, rigid, and strongly striated. The fruit-stalk is lateral, 
and more or less covered with little prominences. Capsule 
slightly curved, and lid somewhat beaked. Fruit rare ; April. 

Anomodon viticulosum (fig. 37), mostly occurring in marly 
soils, will be found covering tree roots or outcropping rocks 
with dense masses of verdigris green. The leaves are blunt, 
imbricated on all sides, slightly spreading when moist, much 
curled and twisted when dry, and turning yellowish when 
old. The fruit is rare, but will be found most frequently 
where the plant has a good supply of moisture. The fruit- 
stalk is lateral, and the fruit will be found about November. 

Tortula aloides and T. ambigua frequently occur together 
on marly and clayey banks. They are very closely alike, 
and can only be separated by careful examination of minute 
details, but may be known from other species occurring in 
like habitats by the short stem, dark-green, somewhat fleshy 
leaves, with the margins very much incurved. The capsule 
is cylindrical and erect in ambigua, and slightly inclined in 
aloides. The fringe is only slightly twisted. 

Banks in calcareous and chalky districts will yield many 
of the foregoing species, but will also have among its deni- 
zens species peculiar to such soils. Such as the Selegerias, 
Eucladium verticillatum, Encalypta vulgaris^ Grimmia 


orbicularis, Ditrichum flexicaule, Pottia lanceolate Mnium 
stellare^ Trichostomum tophaceum^ Bartramia calcarea, etc. 

The Seligerias are minute species, most likely to be found 
on jutfmg*"focks in calcareous districts, and possibly the 
species most frequent will be S. pusilla, which will be found 
growing in light-green patches. As it is a very minute 
species, only close observation will detect it. Usually it 
occurs in fairly dense masses, and may be recognised by 
its small, awl-shaped leaves, straight fruit-stalk, and small, 
top-shaped capsule. It will be in fruit in April or May. ^ 
Another- very characteristic calcicolous moss is Eucladium 
vertidllatum, which appears to favour moist rocks among 
trickling water, and usually the stems will be found more or 
less encrusted with a calcareous deposit. The stems vary 
from half an inch to two inches in height, and it occurs in 
dense, pale, bright-green tufts. Although this moss really 
belongs to the acrocarpous or terminal-fruited section, it 
may appear to the novice to be a lateral-fruited species, 
owing to the lateral prolongation of the branches. The 
leaves are narrow, rigid, and strongly nerved. Capsule 
erect, oval, glossy, reddish; peristome simple, of sixteen 
teeth ; fruit ripe in June. It may be mentioned, in passing, 
that when this or any other calcicolous species is intended 
to be mounted in glycerine or any glycerine compound, it 
should be first of all soaked for a short time in dilute nitric 
acid, to dissolve the calcareous matter adhering to the stem, 
and then well washed in water, otherwise the chalky par- 
ticles will effervesce in the glycerine, and so spoil the pre- 
paration. Encalypta vulgaris will also occur on these 
banks, and this species will be readily known by its large, 
pale-green, extinguisher-like calyptra (fig. n, 2), which 
covers the whole capsule, the large leaves, twisted when 
dry, and cylindrical capsules. It will be found in fruit in 
April, and may be known from other species of the same 
genus by the calyptra being entire at the base. In the other 
species, the calyptra is always toothed or fringed at the 
base, with fine, hair-like processes. Grimmia orbicularis 
should also be sought in such districts, but may be looked 
for on calcareous rocks rather than banks (fig. 19, 4). It 




grows in dense cushions, very similar to the familiar G. 
pulvinata (fig. 19, i), from which however it may be 
known by the convex lid that of G. pulvinata being 
beaked, and by the calyptra being split on one side, and 
not five-lobed as in the latter species, and by its fruit being 
ripened about a month earlier than in the latter species. 
Ditrichum flexicauk occurs in loose, glossy, yellowish-green 

tufts, one or two inches high. 
The leaves are spreading, 
lance-shaped, and narrowed 
into a longish, awl-shaped 
point. Under the microscope 
the nerve will be seen to form 
all the upper portion of the 
leaf. The stems are somewhat 
matted together by root-like 
processes. This moss is 
always barren in British dis- 
tricts. Pottia lanceolata, which 
grows in large patches, will be 
frequent in such soils. The 
stems vary in length from half 
to one inch high, the leaves 
are lance-shaped, terminated 
by a hair-like point, fruit-stalk 
terminal, capsule egg-shaped, 
brown and smooth, peri- 
stome single, of sixteen teeth. 
Mnium stellare occurs both in 
calcareous and marly soils, on 
shady banks, growing in dense" 
tufts of full green or bluish 
green colour. The leaves are 

oval, lance-shaped, without the thickened border usual in 
these species. The leaf-cells are dense and roundish, and 
the leaf-margin is serrated. This species has not yet been 
found in fruit in Great Britain. Trichostomun tophaccum 
is a native of moist, dripping banks in calcareous and marly 
soils, growing in densely tufted masses, often matted together 

FIG. 19. Griinmia pul'vinata. 

i, plant natural size. 2, fruit 
enlarged ; a, conico-rostrate lid; b, 
capsule ; c, curved seta. 3, leaf 
enlarged to show hair-like prolonga- 
tion of nerve ; b, areolation. 4, 
Gritnmia orbicularis, to show con- 
vex lid a. 


with earthy deposits, dull deep green in colour, and will be 
recognised by the lance-shaped, blunt, keeled leaves, having 
a strong nerve scarcely reaching the leaf tip. The fruit- 
stalk is terminal, the capsule erect and egg-shaped, peristome 
of sixteen teeth, lid conical with an oblique beak, fruiting in 
November. Bartramia calcarea may be found in wet places 
in calcareous or marly soils, and has somewhat the appear- 
ance of B. fontana, from which it may be known by the 
intense and beautiful green colour of its leaves. The leaves 
are more rigid, destitute of border, with larger cells ; and 
the leaves of the male flower are acute and nerved to the 
apex, those of B. fontana being obtuse and nerveless. 
, A, .moss-grown tree is always an attractive object to me, 
ancf many a pleasant hour has been spent looking over these 
mossy invaders in search of some rare or local species. The 
trees most prolific in moss tenants in Warwickshire (better 
known to me than any other county) are the ash, elm, lime, 
Ontario poplar, sycamore, and apple. The oak is often 
moss-grown, but not to the extent of the above-mentioned, 
nor are its inhabitants so truly tree-loving species. On the 
beech and the coniferae I rarely find mosses. In other 
climates these also have their special tenants. The mosses 
which I should designate tree-loving mosses are such as the 
Orthotrichums r Cryphaa,Leucodon sciuroides^Zygodon^ Weissia 
drrhata, Leskea polycarpa, etc. 

The prthotrichums are very distinct-looking mosses, oc- 
curring in larger or smaller tufts. The fruit-stalks are very 
short and usually hidden by the surrounding leaves. The 
capsules, with one exception, are striated or streaked "(fig. 
20, 2), and always erect, the calyptra bell-shaped (fig. 20), 
longitudinally plaited, and more or less covered with erect 
hairs, the leaves in most cases erect when dry, and more or 
less covered with minute papillae, and the leaf- margin in 
most cases turned over towards the under-surface or revo- 
lute, leaf-cells roundish. If the above characters are borne 
in mind they will be great helps. 

Orthotrichum affine will be found frequently on the ash, 
elm, and poplar, in large, loose, dark-green tufts, a rather 
coarse-looking moss, with a pale, yellowish-green calyptra. 


The capsule is oblong, pale brown, with a longish straight 
beak when ripe, but becomes whitish and somewhat spindle- 
shaped when dry. 

O. Lyellii is abundant on the elm and ash, forms large 
yellowish-green loose tufts, has the leaves much recurved 
when moist, twisted when dry, the leaf-margins plane, and 
both surfaces -covered with prominent papillae or minute 

elevations, and much 
clothed with brownish 
jointed conferva-like pro- 
cesses. The fruit very 

O. diaphanum will be 
found on many habitats, 
trees, old palings, walls, 
etc. It grows in small, 
bright-green tufts, and has 
the leaves terminated 
by translucent toothed 
whitish tips. 

O. leiocarpum is rare 
in the Midlands, and is 
readily known from the 
other species by the cap- 
sule, which is quite 
smooth, *. e. without 
striae, when dry. This 
I find on the Ontario 

The Ulotas have most 
of the characteristics of 
the Orthotrichums, but 

have usually more hairy calyptras, and narrower leaves, 
much crisped when dry. 

Ulota intermedia, which occurs on both elm and ash, 
forms little yellowish-green tufts, and has the leaves much 
twisted when dry. From May to July is the best season 
for all the above in perfect fruit. 

Cryphaa heteromalla is a local moss, occurring mostly on 

FIG. 20. Upper figure, Fissidens taxi- 
folius, fruit-stalks lateral. Left-hand 
figure, i, pear-shaped capsule, and, 2, 

laris. Central figure, Zygodon viri- 

convex operculum of Funaria fascicii 

Central figure, 
dissitmis. Right-hand figure, Ortho 

trichum affine ; x, plant natural size ; 
b, calyptra. 2, striated capsule and hairy 
calyptra, enlarged. 



the ash, has a creeping pinnate stem, fruiting branches erect, 
the capsule immersed in the sur- 
rounding leaves, the calyptra 
conical, brownish, and the fringe 
or peristome white. Fruiting in 

Leucodon sriuroides I find upon 
the ash, elm, and apple trees, 
often very abundant, but very 
rarely fruiting. This species has 
also a creeping stem, with nu- 
merous erect shoots ; the leaves 
are spreading when moist, but 
imbricate (overlapping) when 
dry; the shoots are thickened 
at the end and incurved, and 
the leaves are nerveless; mar- 
ginal leaf-cells round, central 
ones oblong. 

In calcareous and marly soils 
I find the yellowish-green tufts 
of Zygodon viridissimus (fig. 20, 
central figure) not unfrequently 
on the lower part of the trunks 
of elm, ash, and sometimes oak 
trees ; when moist and fresh- 
gathered the leaves are spread- 
ing, but when dry they are 
crisped and somewhat twisted; 
the leaves are widely lance- 
shaped, have plane margins, 
very small dot-like cells, and a 
pellucid nerve. I have not seen 
this in fruit, but it should be 
sought for in spring. 

Weissia cirrhata is an abun- 2 ' ***** ****** 
dant moss on trees, gate-posts, 

and rails, forming dark-green cushions. The leaves are 
lanceolate, with the margins turned over towards the under- 

FIG. 21. i, Mnium undulatum. 


side, crisped when dry, leaf-cells minute and opaque ; the 
capsule is terminal, borne on a short, straight foot-stalk, 
has a long straight beak, and a fringeof sixteen rudimentary 

Leskea polycarpa I have found most frequently on the 
roots of willows, especially near water, but it also occurs in 
drier habitats. It forms matted yellowish-green tufts ; the 
stem is creeping, somewhat divided with pinnate branches, 
leaves spreading, somewhat oval in shape, slightly roughened 
or papillose on the back, leaf-cells roundish. The fruit- 
stalk is lateral, the capsules erect and the lid conical, the 
fringe consisting of an outer and an inner row of sixteen 

Woods will yield many of our most beautiful mosses,, the 
bordenTwliere the shade is not too great being usually the 
most prolific spots. Many of the species already mentioned 
will be found, "but the most characteristic are such mosses as 
Mnium undulatum, Polytrichumformosum, Hypnum tamaris- 
cinum, H. triquetrum, Dicranum scoparium, Mnium hornum, 

Mnium undulatum is a very noble-looking moss, not un- 
frequent in shady woods and on shady banks in a marly 
soil (fig. 2i, i). It grows in large green patches, and has 
a very tree-like habit ; the leaves are tongue-shaped, obtuse, 
with a slightly thickened margin, which is toothed with 
distinct simple teeth ; towards the top of the stem the leaves 
form a rosette, and from this arise arched or pendulous 
whip-shaped branches. The leaves are undulated when 
moist, crisped when dry. The fruit, which is rare, is ter- 
minal, the fruit-stalks are long, and the capsules pendulous. 

Mnium hornum, a denizen of like places, is far more fre- 
quent (fig. 21, 2). This grows in dense green tufts, the 
stems being matted together with reddish rootlets. The 
leaves are lance-shaped, the margin thickened and bordered 
by a double row of teeth ; fruit-stalk terminal and arched at 
the top like a swan's neck ; capsule oblong, slightly droop- 
ing ; lid convex, with a small point ; in both these mosses 
the fringe is double, and forms a beautiful object for the 
microscope. Fruiting in May or June. . 



Polytrichum formosum rejoices in open woods, and forms 
extensive loose tufts (fig. 22). The stems are often five or 
six inches high, and are terminated by long fawn-coloured 
fruit-stalks. The capsules are large, four or five angled, and 

FIG. 22. Polytrichum formosum, natural size, c, k. i, fruit slightly enlarged ; 
a, calyptra ; b, capsule ; c, apophysis. 2, hairy calyptra more enlarged. 3, fruit 
to show rostrate lid. 

slightly swollen at the base, this swollen portion being called 
the apophysis (fig. 22, i c). The mouth of the capsule is 
closed by a reticulated diaphragm (fig. 16, 30), and fringed 
by sixty-four short, pale teeth (fig. 16, 3^). The lid is long 


and rostrate (fig. 22, 3), and the calyptra is clothed with 
numerous down-like hairs (fig. 22, 2). 

Hypnum triquetrum is frequent in many woods and on 
shady banks; grows in tall, rigid, shining tufts, several 
inches long, yellowish-green. The stems are red, and more 
or less branched. The stem-leaves much recurved, clasping 
the stem at the base, thence gradually tapering to an acute 
point, minutely toothed on the margin, and striated or 
streaked on the surface ; and with a lens two parallel veins 
will be seen, reaching more than halfway up the leaf. The 
fruit-stalk proceeds from the side of the stem, bearing a 
short, slightly curved capsule, with a conical lid. The fringe 
is double (fig. 5, 3 a, b). 

Hypnum tamarisdnum is fond of like places, and occurs 
in loose, deep-green tufts (fig. 23). This is one of the 
most beautiful of the feather mosses. The stem is tripinnate, 
and more or less clothed with numerous branched thread- 
like bodies (villi). The leaves are heart-shaped (fig. 23, 
2), toothed on the margin, and covered on both surfaces 
with minute projections (fig. 23, 2 a) (papillae). This moss 
is often proliferous, i.e. produces young plants from various 
parts of its surface. Hence the old name H. proliferum. 
The fruit is lateral and very rarely seen. 

Dicranum scoparium is a beautiful moss occurring on 
marly banks and in woods, growing in yellowish tufts (fig. 
24, i). The leaves are turned to one side and curved like 
a falchion, narrow lance-shaped, and sharply toothed. The 
nerve is well marked (fig. 24, 3 a\ and has several project- 
ing ridges on the back. The fruit-stalk is terminal, the 
capsule curved, lid long and rostrate, and the fringe consists 
of sixteen deep-red cloven teeth, beautifully marked with 
transverse bars. Fruiting in July. 

A more noble-looking species, Dicranum majus, may also 
be found in woods. This moss grows in great loose masses, 
having stems often six inches long, and may be known from 
D. scoparium by the numerous pale fruit-stalks all arising 
from one point, the olive-green curved capsules, and the 
longer and more tapering leaves, all curved to one side, like 
a sickle in shape, and unaltered when dry. The two species 


are often found together, but are readily separated by even 
a tyro if the above characters are observed. Fruiting from 
May to August. 

FIG. 23. Hypmtm (Thuidiu)ji) tamarisctnum. i, plant natural size, fruit 
lateral (pleurocarpous). 2, papillose leaf; 2 a, apex of same much magnified to show 



Dicrandla squarrosa is much more rare, and is possibly 
more frequent in some of the Yorkshire woods than else- 
where. It occurs in large tufted masses on wet, dripping 
banks in both woods and shady places, and may be recog- 
nised at once by the remarkably squarrose leaves (i.e. 
curved downwards on all sides of the stem). In the York- 
shire districts the stem is often six inches long. The leaves 
are lance-shaped obtuse, and clasp the stem at the base, and 
are quite smooth on their lower surface. Fruiting about 

FIG. 24. Dicranum scofiarium. i, plant natural size. 2, dimidiate calyptra. 
3, a portion of leaf to show enlarged basal cells ; 3 a, nerve. 4, apex of leaf to show 
the toothed or serrated nerve, 4 a. 

Dichodontium pellutidum, which is nearly related to the 
last, is far less rare, and may often be found covering the 
sandstone banks and rocks in streams. It grows in light- 
green patches, from one to two inches high ; the leaves are 
squarrose when moist, twisted when dry, and more or less 
covered with minute protuberances, or papillae, on the under 
surface. The leaf-cells are dot-like, and the nerve scarcely 
continued to the top of the leaf. Fruit, often very abundant, 


may be found from October to April. Fruit-stalk terminal ; 
capsule curved with an oblique beaked lid. 

Plagiothedum undulatum grows in large flattened patches 
of whitish-green colour. The stems are prostrate, and the 
leaves distichous (i.e. inserted in two opposite rows), 
membranous in texture, egg shaped and pointed, and 
noticeable for the tranverse undulations which characterize 
them. The fruit-stalk is lateral; capsule oblong, curved, 
and turned to one side ; lid beaked. The plant is very rare 
in fruit, which should be looked for in April or May. 

Hypnum piliferum occurs on shady banks and in woods 
and is rarely found in fruit. It grows in large patches, 
much like H. purum^ both in general appearance and mode 
of growth. The leaves are imbricated, slightly wavy, 
elliptical in shape, and suddenly contracted into a long 
hair-like point. These characters will distinguish it from 
any allied species. 

Hypnum Schreberi is also frequent in woods, and may also 
be found in bushy places on heaths. It has much the 
aspect of H. purum, from which it may be known readily 
if the plant be held between the eye and the light, when 
the beautiful red stem will be seen contrasting with the 
yellowish green of the leaves ; in If. purum the stem is pale 
green. The leaves are elliptical in shape and imbricated, 
concave, and terminated by a short point. Fruit-stalk 
lateral. The fruit is rare, and should be looked for from 
November to April. 

A newly ploughed field, or, better still, one that has lain 
fallow for some little time, although presenting few charms 
for the general observer of Nature, will be spots to which 
the would-be bryologist must give his particular attention ; 
and during those dreary months which intervene between 
October and April he will, if in any way an enthusiast, find 
plenty of work for his microscope. 

The mosses to be found in such habitats are usually the 
simplest, from a pretty point of view the least noticeable, 
and the shortest lived of any he may study, and when pre- 
served for the herbarium are, perhaps, the most disappoint- 
ing, looking very often more like dried masses of mud than 


aught else, still these earth mosses, or, Phascei, are worthy of 
his attention. The plan I adopt with these minuter species 
is not only to dry some of them with their underlying mud, 
but also to mount a few specimens of each on the ordinary 
3in. by lin. slips of glass, in glycerine jelly, for my cabinet, 
and very pretty objects many of them make when thus pre 

The older botanists placed all the Phascei in the genus 
Phascum; but modern botanists, seeing that the group was 
a very heterogeneous one, have split these Phascei into 
several genera, such *&Pleuridium t Phascum, Spharangium, 
Ephemerum, Archidium, etc. I shall speak only of those 
that I have myself found most frequent. 

Besides these I also find in like habitats such mosses 
as Pottia minutula, Funaria fascicularis, and Tortula un- 

The Phascei usually occur in scattered patches, and, being 
minute, require the constant use of the field lens, and rather 
close searching in many cases. Taking their general 
characteristics, they may readily be known by their small 
bladder-like capsules, usually more or less concealed by the 
surrounding leaves, the fruit-stalk being very short in most 
species, and by the absence of a true lid or operculum. 

Pleuridium subulatum is a not unfrequent inhabitant of 
sandy and marly fields. It may also often be found in great 
abundance in the cleared spaces of woods, and is in good 
condition about April ; will be found in yellowish patches, 
often rather extensive ; the capsule is oval, and immersed 
in the awl-shaped bristly looking leaves ; the leaves are rigid, 
and have a broad nerve, which scarcely extends to the tip 
of the leaf ; the uppermost leaves are longer than the lower 
ones, and much narrower. 

Phascum cuspidatum is a frequent denizen of sandy 
fields, and occurs in small scattered light-green patches. 
The leaves are large for the size of the plant, are concave, 
oblong lance-shaped, and somewhat keeled, with the margin 
turned over towards the under side ; the nerve projects 
beyond the leaf-tip, forming a short cusp-like point ; the 
capsule is roundish and more or less hidden among the 


leaves ; leaf-cells quadrate, slightly papillose ; spores slightly 

Sphtzrangium muticum is much more rare, occurs in sandy 
and marly fields in dark-green or brownish tufts, looking to 
the unassisted eye like small tufts of minute bulbs. It is 
more minute than the last, and has broad, roundish, con- 
cave leaves, not keeled, but rounded on the back, the nerve 
rarely reaching the leaf-tip, and the leaves are usually 
slightly toothed in their upper part, and have plane margins ; 
the capsule is round, and quite hidden among the upper 
leaves ; the spores pale, roundish, smooth ; leaf-cells large. 
In good fruit, March or April. 

Ephemerum serratum occurs most abundantly in marly 
fields, but may also be found in sandy ones, and looks to 
the unassisted eye like a little patch of green conferva ; the 
lens will, however, show the small reddish-brown sessile 
capsules, surrounded by the narrow lance-shaped, slightly 
toothed leaves ; the leaves are nerveless, light-green, with 
transparent longish leaf-cells ; spores yellow, globose, 
slightly roughened. In this moss the protonema (fig. 3, 
i b) continues throughout the lifetime of the moss; and 
hence, in a single specimen under the microscope, the life- 
history of a moss may often be seen the protonema, young 
buds, perfect plant, and capsule bearing the spores. Fruit, 
October to April. 

Archidium phascoides I have rarely found in fields, but it 
does occur occasionally in marly fallow fields ; it is very 
minute, and requires close searching, and as the capsule is 
very small may often be passed over as a mere barren tuft 
of Dicranella varia. It may, however, be known by its 
round capsules and strongly nerved leaves, and by its giving 
off lateral, sterile, whip-shaped shoots from the fertile stem. 

Pottia minutula I find not unfrequent in marly fields, in 
small, brownish-green tufts. The stem is very short, the 
leaves oblong, lance-shaped, tapering to the point, slightly 
overlapping and spreading when moist, erect when dry, 
margin much recurved ; capsule on a short fruit-stalk ; 
mouth naked, i.e. without a fringe ; lid large, conical ; leaf- 
cells quadrate. 


Tortula unguiculata occurs in every sort of soil, is very 
variable, and often puzzling. Sometimes great glaucous 
green tufts of this moss will be seen without a vestige of 
fruit, at other times fruiting specimens will be abundant. 
The leaves are oblong, lance-shaped, blunt, with a minute 
point formed by the projecting nerve, margin curved towards 
the under side ; leaf-cells dense and quadrate in the upper 
part, large and transparent below ; leaves much twisted 
when dry; capsule erect, cylindrical; fringe of thirty-two 
twisted teeth ; lid awl-shaped. 

Funaria fascicularis occurs in sandy fields, in scattered 
tufts, and will be readily known by its widely lance-shaped 
toothed leaves, with large leaf-cells, pear-shaped capsule, 
convex lid, and inflated calyptra (fig. 20, i), no peristome 
or fringe. 

Many of our heath-lands are being rapidly reclaimed and 
vexatious as it may be to the botanist to see the haunts of 
some of his favourites destroyed, he will, if wise, feel that it 
is far better that these lands should be made the means of 
employing labour and adding to the wealth of the country, 
rather than allowed to lie idle, the mere producers of weeds. 
But, in the neighbourhood of these reclaimed wastes, the 
borders of many of the fields, and the waysides of the lanes 
will still retain much of their heath-like character, and in 
such localities I have found the mosses of our heath-lands 
fairly represented. The mosses that I shall characterize as 
heath-mosses are Ceratodon purpureus, Campylopus pyri- 
formis, Bryum nutans, Funaria hygrometrica, Poly trie/turn 
piliferum, Hypnum cupressiforme. These mosses, although 
abundant on heath-lands in Warwickshire, are by no means 
confined to such localities. 

Ceratodon purpureus will be found abundantly on heathy 
waysides in good fruit about the middle of May, and will 
be found forming large dull-green patches, the purple fruit- 
stalk and fruit giving quite a character to the locality. The 
leaves are lance-shaped, with reflexed entire margins keeled 
on the back ; the capsules oval, slightly curved, furrowed 
when dry, and slightly strumose at the base ; lid conical, 
and fringe of sixteen teeth united by transverse bars. The 



fringe of this species forms a beautiful object for the micro- 

Funaria hygrometrica will be found very abundantly in 
like places, more especially where the soil has been burnt, 
forming large yellowish-green patches, and when abundant 
has a very striking appearance (fig. 25). The leaves are 
large, very concave ; the leaf-cells large, hexagonal ; capsule 
curved, somewhat pear-shaped, purple, and furrowed when 
ripe, surmounted by a beautifully marked plane-convex lid ; 
the peristome or fringe double, the outer fringe being formed 

FIG. 25. Funaria. hygrometrica. i, young leafy plant; a, inflated calyptra. 
2, nearly mature plant, natural size ; , leaves ; b, seta, or fruit-stalk ; c, capsule ; 
d, calyptra. 3, capsule enlarged. 4, leaf enlarged. 5, tip of leaf x 140 diameters to 
show leaf cells. 

of sixteen beautifully marked reddish teeth, the inner of 
sixteen yellowish teeth ; annulus large. 

Campy lopus pyriformis, although abundant on our Sutton 
Park heath-lands, is by no means common on the heathy 
waysides ; it will be found forming dense yellowish-green 
patches, the very fragile leaves being scattered abundantly 
over the patches ; the leaves are lance-shaped, the nerve is 
broad, forming the greater part of the leaf, and composed of 


small quadrate cells. The cells of the leaf-base are large 
and transparent. The fruit is rare, and is usually found, in 

Bryum nutans is a very abundant moss on damp heath- 
lands. I also find it in very dense masses on thatched 
roofs. It occurs in large dark-green tufts ; the lower leaves 
are oval, lance-shaped, entire, the upper ones are longer, 
narrowly lance-shaped and toothed ; the nerve scarcely 
reaches the tip of the leaf ; leaf-cells hexagonal, elongated ; 
fruit-stalk reddish ; capsule pendulous, somewhat pear- 
shaped ; lid convex, with a small point ; fringe double. 
Fruit in May or June. 

Polytrichum piliferum will be found abundantly on many 
heathy waysides in loose dark-green tufts, and may be 
readily distinguished by its large thick lance-shaped leaves, 
sheathing at the base, and terminated by a white hair-like 
toothed point ; the capsules are large, four-angled, with a 
distinct swelling just below the base of the capsule, called 
the apophysis ; the fringe is formed of sixty-four teeth, which 
curve over the membranous process closing the mouth of 
the capsule (the diaphragm, fig. 16, 30), the calyptra is 
large, covering the whole capsule, and is clothed with a 
dense felt of shaggy hairs. 

Hypnum cupressiforme occurs on every conceivable habitat, 
but may often be found forming extensive yellowish or dark- 
green patches, the foliage somewhat shining. In habit this 
moss is most variable, being sometimes prostrate, at others 
erect; but usually the stem is pinnate, the leaves curved 
to one side, more or less ovate, and suddenly drawn out 
to a toothed or entire point; the fruit-stalk arises from 
the side of the stem, and is surmounted by the curved 
capsule; the fringe is double, and the lid conical. Although 
this moss varies so much as to be fairly puzzling to the 
experienced bryologist, I find it may be always readily 
made out if a few of the leaves are taken from the stem 
and examined with the microscope. It will then be seen 
that they are either nerveless or faintly two-nerved, have 
very narrow elongate leaf-cells, but the cells at the marginal 
base are quadrate and opaque. 


Dicranum spurium is a fine moss, growing on sandy heaths 
and also in woods ; rarely, however, found in fructification. 
The stems are rigid, two to four inches long, with erect 
forked branches, all rising to nearly the same height. The 
lower leaves are egg-shaped or nearly so, the upper ones 
longer and much prolonged, and all more or less toothed 
on the margin in the upper part ; the leaves are spreading 
when moist, erect and imbricated when dry, and have many 
minute papillae on the lower surface. 

Leucobryum glaucum will be found on damp heaths, grow- 
ing in dense tufted masses. The stems are from two to 

FIG. 26. Pottia cavifolia. i, plant natural size. 2, capsule enlarged ; a, beaked 
or rostrate lid. 3, leaf ; a, lamellate or appendaged nerve. 

four inches long ; the leaves very spongy, glaucous, bibulous, 
and elastic. This moss will be readily recognised. 

" Pleasant both to eye and mind, is an old garden wall, 
dark with age, grey with lichen, green with mosses of beau- 
tiful hues and fairy elegance of form," and on such habitats 
a great variety of species of moss will often be found ; an 
old wall is the bryologist's botanic garden, where he may 
leisurely study his pet plants. A slight shower followed by 
bright sunshine, such a day as we often get in May, will 
often give him a pleasurable sight, such as he will long 
remember, for these alternations of wet and dry call into 
full play the peculiar properties of the annulus, and if he 
has only patience to watch and wait, he will see the little 



lids of many of the capsules thrown off by a sort of magic 
force ; and if the moss he is watching be a Bryum or a 
Hypnum, the outer fringe will be thrown back like the rays 
of a beautiful star-fish, the inner fringe all the while opening 
and closing, and the spores shot forth, by some hidden force 
within, a little cannonade of tiny balls, seeming as though 
the fairies were practising their minute artillery. Or, if 
continued dry weather has shrivelled up the mosses, so that 
they look more dead than alive, a slight shower will at once 
reanimate the shrivelled tufts, and he will see every moss, 
as it drinks in the grateful fluid, waken again into life, the 
shrivelled-up leaves once more assume their natural habit, 
the whole mass looks like a new growth, and the sudden 
resurrection calls to one's mind that wonderful desert plant 
Anastatica, the Rose of Jericho. But why direct one's 
attention to walls for watching phenomena that must be 
common to all moss habitats ? Simply because a wall is so 
convenient, and the whole phenomena may be watched in 
such places without the fatigue of stooping. Stone walls, 
mud walls, and walls of every sort and degree, are all worthy 
of the bryologist's particular attention, and the older the 
walls the richer the spoils as a rule. So prolific, however, 
in mosses are these habitats, that I shall not be able to 
mention a tithe of what may be found by an industrious 
worker, and hence shall confine my remarks to a few of the 
more frequent species, such as Tortula mtiralis, T. marginata, 
Grimmia apocarpa, G. pulvmata, Brytim capillare, B. cces- 
piticium, B. argenteum, Didymodon rubellus, and Pottia cavi- 

On mud-capped walls in calcareous districts, growing 
often in greatest profusion, Pottia cavifolia may be some- 
times found ; this is a small species, having large concave 
leaves, often terminated by a whitish hair-like point. If the 
leaves be examined with a lens, some peculiar membranous 
processes will be seen attached to the veins of the upper 
surface (fig. 26, 3 a). The capsule is egg-shaped, and the 
mouth has no fringe, or is naked, and the lid has a short 
inclined beak (fig. 26, 2 a). Pottia truncata (fig. 4), fre- 
quent on all sorts of walls and banks, has a wide-mouthed 


capsule, and narrower leaves than the last-named variety, 
with no membranous processes on the upper surface. 

Tortula muralis is one of our most frequent mosses, often 
filling up the interstices between the bricks of an old wall 
from its base to its top, growing in hoary, bluish-green tufts ; 
the leaves are oblong with blunt tips, terminated by white 
hair-like points, very hoary in some of the varieties ; the 
leaf-margin is recurved, leaf-cells minute and opaque in 
upper part, transparent and elongated below ; the capsule 
is erect ; lid shortly beaked ; fringe of thirty-two teeth, 
beautifully twisted. 

Tortula marginata is a more local species, partial to damp 
stone walls, and usually growing on the surface of the stone. 
At first sight not unlike the foregoing, but has narrower 
leaves, with the margin thickened, not recurved, and ter- 
minated by a minute green point. The fruit-stalk, too, is 
yellow in this species ; reddish in muralis. Fruit characters 
similar to the last. 

Grimmia apocarpa is a not unfrequent denizen of wall 
tops, forming deep-green loose tufts. The upper leaves are 
hair-pointed, with recurved margins. The capsules are 
sessile among the surrounding (perichaetial) leaves. Lid 
slightly beaked ; fringe of sixteen teeth, dark red, marked 
with transverse bars, and sometimes perforated. 

Grimmia pulvinata is a very common species, growing on 
walls, and often in great masses on thatched roofs, forming 
round, hoary, cushion-like masses (fig. 19). The leaves are 
densely crowded, and suddenly terminated by long white- 
hair points. Fruit-stalk longish and bent downwards, so 
that the capsule is often hidden among the leaves. The lid 
has a straight beak \ the teeth of the fringe sixteen, deep 
red and sometimes cloven at the tips. Calyptra mitriform, 
five lobed at the base. 

Bryum capillare is very fond of old walls, and is very 
frequent; often occurs in large dense dark-green masses. 
The leaves are spreading when moist, but strongly twisted 
when dry, somewhat oblong and abruptly hair-pointed. 
Capsule somewhat pear-shaped, and pendulous ; lid conical, 
with a minute point ; fringe double ; outer fringe reddish 


brown, beautifully barred ; inner fringe membranous, paler ; 
spores small, green. The peristome of this common rnoss 
is a most beautiful object for the microscopist. 

Bryum ccespiticium is also very frequent, growing in close 
compact tufts, of a yellowish or green colour. Usually very 
much like the last (fig. i) at first sight; but in this the 
leaves are erect (not twisted) when dry, the lid yellow, not 
red as in capillare, and the spores minute and yellow. 

Bryum argenteum may be readily known by its beautiful 
silvery foliage. The leaves are closely imbricated (over- 
lapping) ; capsule pendulous, and passing abruptly into the 
fruit-stalk. Green forms, however, occur ; but may at once 
be known by the closely imbricated leaves, with large cells. 

Didymodon rubeHns, so far as my own observations serve, 
is somewhat local ; is usually fond of old shady walls ; and 
fruits from November to February. Grows in dull-green 
tufts, which are reddish below; the leaves lance-shaped, 
somewhat clasping the stem at their base ; margins recurved ; 
leaf-cells minute in upper part, towards the base elongated 
and transparent. The leaves, too, are spreading when 
moist, but twisted when dry ; the capsule is cylindrical ; 
fringe of sixteen simple teeth ; lid slightly curved and 

A true bryologist should never be afraid of damp and 
dirty boots ; if he be, I am afraid he will scarcely care to 
follow me to the habitats I have next to mention, that is, 
the marshes and bogs, and will thereby lose some of the 
rarest and most beautiful of the mosses. The odours of a 
marsh are not always of so grateful a nature as one would 
desire for a bouquet ; but the gems which cluster round its 
margin, or more boldly brave its deeper depths, are worthy 
to be placed among the fairest of the floral world, and speak 
as loudly of the marvellous skill of the Great Designer, as 
the most beautiful and complicate of God's creatures. He 
who doubts this should examine with the microscope the 
wonderful structure of a Sphagnum leaf; and if the delicate 
network that he will then have revealed fail to charm, it will 
be because his power of appreciating beautiful objects is 
limited. Among other denizens of these watery situations 



he will find the Sphagnums most abundant, and such mosses 
as Bartramia fcntana, Mnium subglobosum, Hypnum cuspi- 
datum, Aulacomnion palustre, and many other species, which 
space will not permit me to name. 

Bartramia fontana is 
a frequent denizen of our ^ 

Warwickshire marshes, 
but rarely in fruit (fig. j 

27). It occurs in more 
or less dense tufts of a \ 

glaucous green colour, 
and has the stems much 
matted together by red- 
dish rootlets; the leaves 
are mostly ovate, with a. 
prolonged point, have 
reflexed margins, and 
are slightly plicate at 
the base ; the cells are 
small and quadrate ; 
the leaf-margin bluntly 
toothed ; the capsule is 
roundish, curved, mark- 
ed with deep longitudi- 
nal furrows (fig. 27, 3), 
and reddish brown when 
ripe ; fringe double ; lid 

Mnium subglobosum 
is a more local moss, 
but abundant in some 
marshes, occurring in 
dark-green tufts (fig. 28). 
The leaves are large, 
roundish, blunt, bordered with one or two series of elongated 
cells (fig. 28, 3 a), the principal portion of the leaf being 
formed of largish, roundish, hexagonal cells (fig. 28, 3 b} ; 
the capsules roundish, with a small, shortly beaked lid (fig. 
28, 2 a) ; fringe similar to that of the Bryums. 

FIG. 27. Bartramia {Philonotis} fontana. 
i, plant natural size. 2, dimidiate calyptra. 
3, furrowed capsule. 



Aulacomnion palustre is closely allied to the last, is fond 
of boggy or marshy places, and is usually abundant where 
it does occur ; rarely, however, found in fruit. This species 
grows in large yellow tufts; the stems are coated by 
numerous reddish rootlets, and hence are much matted 
together; the leaves are crowded, spreading when moist, 
much twisted when dry, somewhat lance-shaped, roughened 
with minute projections on the surface, and toothed at the 

FIG. 28. Mnium subglobosum. i, plant natural size. 2, capsule ; a, conico-ros- 
trate lid. 3, leaf ; 3 a, marginal leaf-cells (border) ; 3 b, areolation. 4, synoicous 

tips ; leaf-cells roundish ; the capsules are very rarely 
formed, but not unfrequently little green stalks are produced, 
which bear at their tips minute balls of gemmse-like bodies, 
by which the plant is perpetuated (fig. 2, 2 e). 

Hypnum cuspidatum is a very frequent inhabitant of 
marshes and other damp places, and usually fruits abund- 
antly. This species grows in tall greenish or reddish-brown 
tufts; the stems are often four inches to six inches long 



pinnately branched; branches remarkably cusp-like at the 
tips ; leaves large, oblong, rather blunt, and nerveless ; leaf- 
cells narrow and elongated ; fruit-stalk lateral ; capsule 
curved and turned to one side ; fringe, consisting of an 
outer row of sixteen beautifully barred teeth, and an inner 
membrane of sixteen tooth-like processes ; lid conical. 

Many species of Sphagnum will 
be found in the bogs and marshes 
of the moor-lands, heath-lands, and 
damp woods ; and, whilst I know 
of no mosses that are more difficult 
to determine, at the same time I 
know of none that surpass them in 
interest. The most widely diffused 
species are Sphagnum cymbifolium, 
S. acutifolium, varieties ad lib., S. 
contortum, and S. intermedium. 

Sphagnum cymbifolium (fig. 29) 
is probably more readily made out 
than any other species, unless we 
take cognisance of some of those 
very near allies that have more re- 
cently been exalted to specific 
rank. This is one of the largest 
of our British species, having 
stems varying from one inch to a 
foot long. The branches occur in 
bundles of three, four, or five to- 
gether, some of which are pendu- 
lous, and applied to the stem, and 
others are spreading. The leaves 
are closely imbricated, ovate and 
obtuse; but the most striking 
character is to be found in the cells coating the sides 
of the tumid branches the utricles. These are elongated 
cells, and in this species are marked with numerous spiral 
lines. The fruit will be found from June to August, and 
the male flowers in the upper branches of the stem about 

FIG. 29. Sphagnum cyni- 
bifolium. a, capsule. 


S. acutifolium (fig. 30) is readily known from the last 
species by its more slender stems, but runs into many 
' varieties that are difficult to distinguish, except after much 
experience. The somewhat acute stem-leaves, five-toothed 
at the tip and broadly bordered, the utricles slightly re- 
curved at the tip and wanting the spiral markings, and the 

FIG. 30. Sphagnum acutifolium, 2, fruit enlarged ; a, perichaetial leaves ; b, 
capsule. 3, branch-leaf enlarged ; 3 a, apex of same highly magnified ; 3 b, single 
cell from the middle of the leaf to show spiral fibres, c, and ducts, d. 

branch-leaves acute, unchanged when dry, together with 
the slender habit of the plant, will be the best guides. This 
plant grows in dense tufts, and varies in colour more than 
perhaps any other species, being in some varieties a beautiful 
red, in others purple, and again pale green. Often found 
in abundant fruit about July or August. 

5. contortum is more robust than the last, and is also 


subject to much variation. Still, it maybe known by the 
contorted branches, the large stem-leaves, strongly fibrose, 
by the leaf-cells being smaller than in the last and bordered 
round by numerous minute pores, and by the stem having 
only a single layer of cortical cells. Fruits July and August. 

S. intermedium approaches S. aciitifolium in its more 
slender habit ; it grows in loose tufts, and is usually yellowish 
green. The stem-leaves are acute, but have neither the 
small pores nor fibres noticeable in many other species. The 
branch-leaves are acute and are somewhat undulated and 
recurved at the points when dry. The fruit is found about 
July or August. 

The foregoing characters cannot be considered as more 
than vague guides by which to determine these plants, nor 
do I know of any simple guide to a knowledge of the species 
in this group ; only frequent comparison and a constant use 
of the microscope will enable the student to properly under- 
stand that most protean group of mosses, the Sphagnums. 

Possibly, the most restricted in their range are the Alpine 
mosses ; for, whilst we may find many of the lowland mosses 
ascending to high elevations, there are other species that 
we should look for in vain, except either in high latitudes 
or on the summits of our loftiest mountains. These Alpine 
mosses will be found to vary considerably with regard to 
the species to be found in any given district, the nature of 
the rock, whether siliceous, calcareous, or granite, determin- 
ing, in some manner, the character of the flora \ possibly, 
the granite rocks have the more characteristic flora. To 
enumerate all the species of moss that are to be found in 
these elevated regions would be tedious. I shall therefore 
merely call attention to a few of the more special species, 
feeling assured that the student who seeks these will be so 
enamoured by the subject that he will scarcely neglect those 
not here mentioned. 

Of Alpine species the following may be considered as 
representative : viz. Andrecza nivalis, A. alptna, Dicranum 
Starkii, Grimmia ovata, G. atrata, Rhachomitrium patens, 
Amphoridium lapponicum, Oligotrichum hercynicum, Pogo- 


natum alpinum, Conostomum boreale, Splachnum vasculosum^ 
and Dissodon splachnoides. 

Probably the most adventurous and daring invader of 
Alpine heights among our British mosses is Andrecea nivalis 
(fig. 13, 3), a beautiful species growing in pale reddish- 
brown tufts, almost to the limit of perpetual snow, and plen- 
tiful on many of the mountains of the Cairngorm range. 
The stems are about two inches long, the leaves loosely 
imbricated, lance-shaped and slightly curved to one side, 
the nerve well denned and continued to the tip. Fruit 
terminal, at first oval ; but as it becomes ripe it splits into 
four valves, which are held together by the lid, which in 
these mosses does not fall away, or is what is termed per- 
sistent Fruiting in June or July. 

A. alpina (fig. 13, i) is more frequent than the last, being 
found in the elevated districts of England, Wales, Scotland, 
and Ireland. It differs from the last in the less-branched 
stems, leaves wider, more prolonged, and without nerves, 
and the widely gaping four-valved capsule. It grows in 
dense purple brown or almost black tufts, and has the 
leaves loosely imbricated when moist, closely pressed to the 
stem when dry. Fruiting in June or July. 

Dicranum Starkii is found on the summits of some of the 
highest Scotch mountains and on Snowdon, growing in large 
yellowish-green tufts, which readily fall apart when gathered. 
The stem is branched ; the leaves curved to one side, awl- 
shaped, prolonged, rigid when dry, with a strong, well-defined 
nerve ; fruit-stalk terminal ; capsule curved and swollen, 
with an enlargement at the base (strumose) ; lid beaked ; 
peristome of sixteen forked teeth. Fruiting about August. 

Grimmia ovata also occurs in elevated situations, growing 
in dark-green, somewhat hoary, compact tufts ; leaves dark 
green, lance-shaped, and tapering to a point, which is ter- 
minated by a white-hair point, spreading when moist, erect 
when dry, and strongly nerved ; fruit-stalk terminal ; capsule 
oval ; lid slightly beaked and grooved in the margin ; peri- 
stome of sixteen perforated teeth. The fruit may be found 
from October to March. 

G. atrata will be found on Scottish and Welsh mountains, 



in dense blackish tufts ; leaves almost black, except the 
uppermost ones, which are dark green ; all are keeled on 
the back, rather blunt, nerved almost to the tips, margins 
turned down; fruit-stalks terminal ; capsules erect, oblong ; 
lid slightly beaked ; calyptra split on one 
side; peristome of sixteen perforated or 
forked teeth. Fruiting from October to 

Racomitrium patens is a more noble 
species, having stems two to four inches 
high, and growing in large, loose, green 
tufts, on moist rocks, in Scotland and 
Wales. The leaves are erect when dry, 
lance-shaped, pointed, and tipped with 
short hair-like points, keeled on the back, 
the keel being curiously two-winged ; fruit- 
stalk on short terminal branches ; capsule 
narrowly egg-shaped; lid conical beaked; 
peristome red ; calyptra five-iobed at the 
base. Fruiting in summer. 

Pogonatmn alpinum (fig. 31) will be 
sure to attract notice, and may be known 
by its branched stems, about three inches 
long; leaves dark green, long, narrow, 
and toothed; capsule roundish, olive 
brown, slightly enlarged at the base; lid 
beaked; peristome of sixty-four pale teeth; 
and hairy calyptra. Fruiting in June. 

Oligotrichuni hercynicum is nearly re- 
lated to the last, and is abundant on some 
of the Welsh and Scotch mountains, 
growing in short tufts about half an inch 
high. The leaves are dull green, thick, size. 
or fleshy, channelled, with a broad nerve, 
which is covered with curious rugose, wing-like processes; 
the leaves are incurved when dry; fruit-stalk terminal; 
capsule oblong, erect ; lid conical ; peristome of thirty- 
two teeth ; calyptra split on one side, slightly hairy. Fruiting 
in July. 

FIG. 31. Pogo- 
natum alpinum, 
3, plant natural 


Amphoridium lapponicum may be found growing in the 
crevices of rocks near the summits of high mountains in 
Scotland and Wales, in loose dark-green tufts, about an inch 
high. The leaves are crowded, narrowly lance-shaped ; 
nerve pellucid; fruit-stalk terminal, very short; capsule erect, 
dark brown, with eight furrows ; lid shortly beaked. Fruiting 
in June or July. 

Conostomum boreale has only been met with on Scotch 
mountains near the summits. The stems are about two 
inches high, and form dense green, level-topped, rigid tufts ; 
leaves imbricated, pointed ; fruit-stalk terminal, about one 
inch long ; capsule slightly bending to one side and furrowed 
when ripe; lid conical curved ; peristome red. Fruiting in 
July and August. 

Splachnum vasculosum is one of the prizes that reward 
the daring Alpine climber, and must be looked for about 
the springs and streams of Scotch mountains, such as 
Ben Lawers. Stems unbranched and forming dense tufts; 
leaves large, pale, dusky green, roundish egg-shaped, con- 
cave, with a short nerve ; leaf-cells large and transparent ; 
capsule erect, cylindrical, with a large globular purple swell- 
ing at the base (apophysis\ which is smooth when freshly 
gathered, but becomes corrugated when old or dry. Fruit- 
ing in summer. 

Dissodon splachnoides is another of these prizes found in 
wet, turfy bogs on some of the Breadalbane range, growing 
in dense, blackish-green tufts. The stems are about an 
inch high ; the leaves dark green, tongue-shaped, blunt, with 
a short nerve and large leaf-cells ; capsules nearly erect, 
roundish egg-shaped, olive brown, with an apophysis more 
or less tapering into the fruit-stalk ; lid convex, with a short 
point ; peristome of sixteen short teeth. Fruiting about July. 

The foregoing notes on moss habitats are, I am convinced, 
full of faults ; they have, however, been given in the hope 
of calling the attention of some of the students of Nature 
to a vast and very beautiful family of plants, and, if they 
should induce any one to give some of his spare moments 
to this study, they will have served the purpose for which 
they were written. 


AN essay like the present could scarcely be considered 
complete unless some account were given of the classifica- 
tion or systematic arrangement of the plants. It would be 
quite beyond the scope of this work to notice the various 
systems that have been from time to time adopted, and it 
would occupy too much space to go into the minuter details 
of the system here adopted, so that this will be merely 
a slight analysis of the larger groups, and it is hoped will 
be sufficient to give the student an intelligible idea of the 
affinities as well as the differences to be observed in these 

Mosses may be conveniently divided into groups by means 
of the situation of the fruit, its peculiarities, and the mode 
of branching of the stem. These main groups are three. 

I. ACROCARPI. Fruit terminal (fig. 4). 

II. CLADOCARPI. Fruit terminal on short lateral branches 

(fig. 36). 

III. PLEUROCARPI. Fruit lateral (fig. 5), springing from 
the side of the stem. 

The first group, Acrocarpi, has two sub-groups which many 
botanists place separately. This plan will be adopted here. 
These are : 

Sub-group I. Schistocarpi. 

Fruit splitting longitudinally into four or more valves, 
adhering at the top. Andreaa (fig. 13). 

Sub-group II. Syncladei. 

Branches fasciculate (having dusters of short lateral un- 
equal branches). Sphagnum (fig. 29 and fig. 30). 

Considering the two foregoing groups as forming separate 
series, the Acrocarpous mosses are divided into several 



groups, called tribes, and these tribes are formed by genera 
having certain leading characters in common. 

Sub-group III. Bryaccea. 

SERIES I. ACROCARPI. Fruit terminal (fig. 4). 

Tribe I. Phascea. -Plants minute ; leaves soft ; leaf-cells 
loose ; capsules globose (fig. 14), more or less enclosed 
within the leaves ; fruit-stalk usually very short ; capsule 
splitting irregularly. 

Comprising Phascum> Ephemerum (fig. 3), etc. 

FIG. 32. Barbula subulata. i, plant natural size. 2, upper portion of fruit: a, 
capsule ; b, twisted peristome ; 3, leaf enlarged; 3 a, cells of upper portion of leaf. 

Tribe II. Weissiece. Plants tufted ; leaves with a single 
nerve or vein ; leaf-cells opaque, dot-like, or quadrate 
(square), often papillose (with minute protuberances) in the 
upper part, hexagonal and more or less transparent in the 
lower ; lid usually beaked ; peristome single or absent j 
calyptra split on one side. 

This is a large group of mosses, including Weissia, Di- 
cranum, Ceratodon, Selegeria, etc. 

Tribe III. Pottiea. Branches fastigiate by innovations 
(i.e. having additional branches of an equal height) leaf-cells 


parenchymatous, quadrate-hexagonal, papillose, and chloro- 
phyllose above (i.e. filled with green granules), and transparent 
at the base ; capsule erect, oval, or cylindrical ; peristome of 
usually sixteen flat membranous teeth, sometimes simple 
and rudimentary, mostly 
split to the base into 
thirty-two thread-like, ob- 
scurely jointed segments ; 
in some of the genera the 
peristome is absent. 

This is an important 
tribe, comprising Pottia, 
Trichostomum, Barbula 
(fig. 32), etc. 

Tribe IV. Grimmiece. 
Plants tufted, or growing 
in cushion-like masses ; 
leaves short, solid, often 
tapering to a point, with 
hair-like tips ; cells dense, 
obscure, dot-like, minutely 
round- quadrate, and filled 
with green granules above ; 
capsule on a straight or 
curved fruit-stalk ; teeth, 
sixteen, with transverse 
markings, cleft or pierced, 
rarely absent ; calyptra 
generally lobed at the 
base, or split on one side 

This comprises the ge- 
nera Grimmia (fig. 19) 
and Racomitrium (fig. 33). 

Tribe V. Orthotrichea. Plants tufted ; leaves of close 
texture; calyptra lobed at the base, mostly plaited, often 
hairy ; peristome of eight or sixteen flat, short, lance-shaped 
outer teeth, and eight or sixteen simple, thread-like inner 

FIG. 33. Racomitriutn canescens. T, 
fruit ; a, peristome ; b, capsule. 2, subu- 
late operculum or lid. 3, mitriforme 
calyptra, which is lobed at the base. 4, 
papillose leaf ; 4 a, section of same to show 
revolute margins. 

6 4 


Comprising Ptychomitrium, Orthotrichum (fig. 34), En- 
calypta (fig. n), etc. 

Tribes VI., VII., VIII. comprising Tetraphid(z,Discdiecz, 
and Schistostegece are unimportant, and may be passed 

Tribe IX. Splachnece. Plants and leaves of soft, loose 
texture ; male flowers discoid ; capsule with an apophysis 
varying in shape and size. 

Embraces the genera Dissodon, Tetraplodon^ and Splach- 
num (fig. 10). 

FIG. 34. Orthotrichum straiuitieum. i, plant enlarged to show ribbed capsule. 
2, hairy mitriforme calyptra. 3, conico-rostrate lid. 4, leaf enlarged ; 4 a, upper 
leaf cells which are papillose ; 4 b, elongated cells from base of leaf. 

Tribe X. Physcomitriea. Plants soft ; leaves large ; cells 
large and transparent ; capsule rarely symmetrical, generally 
curved to one side and swollen ; peristome absent or of 
sixteen teeth, inclined to the right, with an inner membrane 
divided into irregular segments, or rudimentary. 

A group comprising Physcomitrium, Entosthodon, Funaria 
(fig. 25), etc. 

Tribe XI. Bartramiea. Leaves papillose on both upper 
and lower surface ; cells minute, quadrate in the upper part 


of the leaves ; capsule nearly spherical, turned to one side, 
ribbed when dry ; peristome none, simple, or double. 

Includes Bartramia (fig. 17), Conostomum, Philonotis 
(fig. 27). 

Tribe XII. Meesiea. Leaves three to eight ranked ; cap- 
sule with long fruit-stalk, and long-necked, turned to one 
side ; peristome double ; outer teeth much shorter than the 
sixteen segments of the keeled membrane, absent in Cato- 

A tribe of mosses nearly allied to the next following, in- 
cludes Catoscopium, Amblyodon, Meesia, Paludella. 

FIG. 35. Mniu tn fiunctatu in. Natural size. 

Tribe XIII. Byrecz. Plants of various size ; leaves simple 
nerved, generally toothed ; leaf-cells prosenchymatous, equal, 
smooth ; capsule globose, egg-shaped, or pear-shaped, turned 
to one side, horizontal or pendent, very rarely erect ; peri- 
stome generally double ; teeth transversely barred ; inner 
membrane divided into segments alternating with the teeth, 
generally separated by cilia (hair-like divisions of the inner 

A very natural group of beautiful mosses, often requiring 
very careful dissection and examination for their proper 
determination, including Leptobryum, Webera, Bryum (fig. i), 
Mnium (figs. 21, 28, and 35). 


Tribe XIV. Polytrichea. Plants woody ; leaves thick, 
lamellate inside (i.e. with longitudinal folds) ; peristome 
simple, of thirty-two or sixty-four solid, tongue-shaped teeth, 
adhering to the membranous enlarged top of the columella 
(the central portion of the capsule around ivhich the spores are 

This is a fine group of mosses, containing many noble- 
looking species, very distinct and easily recognised, includes 
Polytrichum (fig. 22), Pogonatum (fig. 31), Oligotrichum, 
and Atrichum (fig. 16). 

Tribe XV. Buxbaumiea. Stemless plants with large 
oblique ventricose capsules ; peristome double, the outer 
rudimentary, the inner membranous, twisted into a sixteen 
to thirty-two plicate or plaited truncate cone. 

FIG. 36. Fontinalis antipyretica, i, portion of plant natural size ; a a, cladocar- 
pous fruiting branch. 2, the same enlarged ; a, lid ; , capsule. 

A small group nearly related to the last, containing only 
the two genera JDiphiscium and Buxbaumia. 

SERIES II. CLADOCARPI. Fruit terminal on short lateral 
branches (fig. 36). 

Tribe XVI. Fontinalece. Aquatic plants rooting at the 
base only, floating ; leaves thin ; flowers dioecious ; calyptra 
split on one side ; teeth of the double peristome linear ; inner 
membrane divided into long cilia forming a latticed cone by 
transverse partitions, or the cilia free, longer than the teeth, 

A small group comprising Fontinalis and Dichelyma. 

SERIES III. PLEUROCARPI. Fruit lateral; flowers in 
axillary buds. 


Tribe XVII. Nxkerea. Primary stems creeping, the 
secondary erect or creeping with forked or pinnate branches; 
leaves smooth ; cells minute ; capsule generally enclosed in 
the perichaetium (the leaves immediately surrounding the base 
of the fruit-stalk} ; calyptra split on one side, conical, often 
hairy ; peristome simple or double, rarely absent. 

To this family belong Cryphtza, Neckera, Homalia, etc. 

Tribe XVIII. Leucodontece. Primary stems creeping, 
the secondary erect or pendent, simple or ramose ; leaves 
solid, subscarious, plaited lengthwise ; leaf-cells in distinct 
rows, dot-like, angular ; calyptra large, split on one side. 

A tribe well represented in our flora, and comprising 
Leucodon, Pterogonium, Antitrichia, etc. 

Tribe XIX. Hookeriece. Plants small, soft, sparingly 
and irregularly branched ; leaf-cells large ; calyptra conical- 
lobed at the base ; peristome double. 

A tribe of very distinct mosses, comprising the genera 
Daltonia, Hookeria, Pterygophyllum. 

Tribe XX. Fabroniea. Plants very small ; leaves thin, 
delicate, ciliate-dentate or entire ; capsule pear-shaped, with 
a distinct collum, or neck; calyptra split on one side; 
peristome simple or none. 

A small group, sparingly represented, comprising th'e 
genera Habrodon and Myrinia. 

Tribe TXI.Leskeace<z. Primary stems creeping ; leaves 
soft ; cells minute, hexagonal, papillose, and chlorophyllose 
above, hexagonal-rectangular below ; capsule symmetrical, 
erect or curved; peristome double; teeth linear-lance- 
shaped, awl-shaped, segments shorter than the teeth ; cilia 
none or rudimentary, rarely perfect. 

A group embracing several very widely spread mosses 
and others equally limited in their distribution, such as 
Myurella, Leskea,Anomodon($\g. 37), Thuidium (fig. 23), etc 

Tribe ~X33.l.Orthotheciea. Plants in wide yellow mats ; 
leaves smooth; leaf-cells narrowly rhomboidal or linear, 
square at the basal angles; capsule erect, symmetrical; 
peristome double. 

In this group are placed Pylaisia, Homalothecium, 
Climatium, Orthothecium. 


This group, although separated from the next, has many 
affinities with it, and would probably be united with it by 
most botanists. 

Tribe XXIII. Hypnea. Plants of very variable habit; 
leaves of diverse forms, spreading or squarrose, rarely erect, 
often secund or falcate, with or without a central nerve, or 
two-nerved at the base, generally scarious, smooth, and 
glossy; leaf-cells prosenchymatous (fig. 5,4^), more or less 
narrowed, sometimes very narrow and vermicular (worm- 
shaped}, quadrate and enlarged at the basal angles ; vaginule 
attached to a perichsetial, generally rooting branchlet ; 
calyptra conical and cleft on one side ; capsule with a long 
stalk, turned to one side (fig. 5), or horizontal, more or less 
incurved; peristome double (fig. 5, $ab), generally perfect, 
with two or three cilia appendiculate or articulate. 

A tribe comprising the single genus Hypnum (fig. 5), but 
comprising more than 100 species, divided into about 21 
sub-genera ; many of these sub-genera are considered as 
genera by leading bryologists. 



Capsule globular immersed, splitting irre- 
gularly -. . . . . . Phascea. 

Peristome none or simple, tissue of leaves 

dense ...... Weissiece. 

Peristome none . ... . . Gymnostomum. 

Peristome simple, of 16 teeth . . Weissia. 

Teeth split to the middle ; leaf-cells at base 

square, enlarged at the angles . . Dicranea. 

Leaves distichous, conduplicate in the 

lower part ; teeth split . . . Fissidentece. 

Plants spongy, whitish yellow; leaves thick, 

composed of three layers . . . Leucobryecz. 

Leaves clasping at base ; teeth 16, divided 
nearly to base into equal jointed seg- 
ments . . . . . . Ceratodontea. 

Plants minute; capsule erect; teeth 16, 

single . Sdigeriea. 

Capsule ovate; teeth o or 16 ; ,leaf-cells 

large . . . . . . Pottiea. 

Teeth filiform, 32, distinct or in pairs . Trichostomiea. 

Capsule regular; fruit-stalk straight or 
curved; leaves often hair-tipped; cells 
dot-like Grimmiea. 

Calyptra conical-lobed, hairy or smooth ; 
cells dot-like ; teeth 8 or 16 twin, 
inner teeth 8 or 16 thread-like . . Orthotrichea. 

Calyptra furrowed ; teeth 1 6 ; leaf-cells dot- 
like . . . . . . Ptychomitriect. 

Calyptra large, funnel-shaped, persistent . Encalyptiece. 


Peristome composed of the cellular part 

of the lid ; teeth 4 .... Tetraphidiea. 
Stems bud-like, annual ; teeth 16, cloven at 

the base Disceliea. 

Peristome none ; leaves vertical, pinnate . Schistostegiece. 
Capsule apophysate ; leaf-cells large . . Splachnece. 
Capsule irregular ; calyptra inflated . . . Physcomitriea. 
Capsule spherical, ribbed when dry ; leaves 

rigid, papillose ; upper cells square . Bartramiece. 
Capsule long stalked ; neck distinct ; outer 

teeth short . . . . . Meesiece. 
Perigtome double ; leaf-cells large, equal, 

smooth BryecK. 

Leaves thick, rigid ; top of columella en- 
larged ; teeth 32 or 64 . . . Polytrichecz. 
Stemless ; capsule large, swollen ; outer 

teeth rudimentary . . . Buxbaumiea. 


Aquatic, floating ; fruit-stalk short ; peri- 

stome double Fontiiialea. 


Stem compressed, pinnate ; fruit-stalk short 

or none . . . . . . Neckerece. 

Leaves solid ; leaf-cells dot-like ; capsules 

erect Leucodontea. 

Stem flattened ; leaves soft ; cells large ; 

calyptra conical-lobed . .. . . Hookeriea. 

Leaves imbricated; capsule pear-shaped 

with a distinct neck .... Fabroniea. 

Capsule symmetrical ; leaf-cells minute, pa- 
pillose ...... Leskeacea. 

Leaf-cells narrowly rhomboid or linear, 

quadrate at the base ; capsule erect . Orthothecieoc, 

Peristome double; fruit-stalk long; calyptra 

cleft on one side .... Hypnea. 


The foregoing is necessarily a very condensed account of 
the classification of the mosses ; but the student who desires 
to go more thoroughly into the matter must be referred 
to the very excellent " Cryptogamic Botany," by the Rev. 
M. J. Berkeley, pp. 470-507, where he will find the matter 
more fully dealt with. 



MOSSES will be found distributed all over the earth's 
surface, wherever the surroundings are suitable for the 
germination and development of their spores. 

That this should be so is not astonishing when we con- 
sider how minute, light, and multitudinous these spores are 
so minute that in many species a pocket lens is required to 
render them distinct, so light that every faint breeze carries 
on it myriads of these germs, so profusely produced that the 
contents of one capsule, if all germinated, would cover with 
verdure a large space of land, and any one species might, 
were circumstances favourable, diffuse itself over the earth's 
surface. But even with these plants, lowly organized as 
they are, taking their nutriment mostly from the surrounding 
atmosphere, and depending but slightly upon the soil for 
their well-being, even with these there is some sort of 
selection, so far as habitat is concerned, and a struggle for 
existence ; and whilst some are cosmopolitan, others appear 
to be truly limited in their range. 

Thus we find that some species, such as Ceratodon 
purpureus, Racomitrium lanuginosum, Funaria hygrometrica, 
Hedwigia dliata, Bryum argenteum, B. capillare^ Hypnum 
cupressiforme, are recorded in the floras and herbaria from 
all parts of the globe ; whilst others, as Voitia nivalis, 
Dawsonia superba, Hookeria Iczte-virens, and others are 
equally restricted in their range. 

Voitia nivalis, which is a fine moss, appears to be restricted 
to Europe. 

Hookeria Icete-virens, also a very noticeable species, is 


restricted to Europe and Madeira ; the genus is, however, 
represented in South America and New Zealand. 

Dawsonia superba, a magnificent and remarkable species, 
is at present only recorded from New Zealand.* 

Many interesting facts will be revealed to us if we care- 
fully compare the moss floras of contiguous and remote 
districts. Thus, comparing the moss flora of Great Britain 
with that of the Continent of Europe, we find that out 
of about 900 species recorded in Schimper's " Synopsis 
Muscorum Europseorum," Edition 2, we have 570 species 
recorded from the British Islands, and that there are about 
325 species recorded from the Continent that have not as 
yet been found in these islands ; whilst, on the other hand, 
notwithstanding the minute researches of our own bry- 
ologists, we have as yet only had about 16 species recorded 
from the British Islands that have not as yet been found 
on the Continent proper. But here it must be notified that 
some of these species are very minute, and may have been 
over-looked; whilst others are distinguished by minute 
differences that may not be considered sufficiently impor- 
tant to deserve specific distinction by foreign botanists. 
The most remarkable matter, however, is, that we have not 
only distinct species, but also distinct genera, as, for in- 
stance : 

Streptopogon gemmascens, " recorded from Surrey and not 
occurring on the Continent, but represented by seven species 
in the Andes, in the Himalayas, and three in the South 
Temperate zone." 

Daltonia splachnoides, " recorded from Ireland, not found 
on the Continent, a genus having seventeen species in the 
Andes, two in Mexico, one in the Galapagos, six in India 
and Ceylon, five in Java, two in Africa, and three in the 
Antarctic Islands." 

Hookeria, " which is a large genus of fine mosses, having 
representatives in the Andes, Brazil, Mexico, Pacific Islands, 
New Zealand, Java, India, Africa, Madeira, Cornwall, and 
Ireland, but in no part of Europe proper." * 

* "Island Life." A. Russell Wallace. 


If we compare the moss flora of Europe with that of 
North America, or vice versci, we shall meet with similar 
results. In Lesquereux and James's " Mosses of North 
America," we have about 900 species of moss recorded 
from that continent, and of these I find that about 515 
species are natives of both the continents of Europe and 
America respectively/but 383 are non-European ; whilst out 
of the 900 species recorded for Europe in Schimper's 
" Synopsis," 394 have not as yet been recorded from North 
America. A comparison of the European moss flora with 
that of India, shows, however, a great difference in the ratio 
of European species. In Mr. Mitten's valuable " Musci 
Indise Orientalis," about 770 species are recorded, and of 
these only no species are natives also of Europe. This 
record, however, can scarcely be a full one ; and doubtless 
when that country has been more thoroughly investigated, 
the ratio of European species will be found to be greater. 

But comparing the floras of still more distant countries, 
such as that of Europe with that of New Zealand, it will be 
found that the differences are more marked. Sir Joseph 
Hooker, in the " Handbook of the Flora of New Zealand," 
vol. ii., records 348 species as having been found in that 
island. Of these only sixty-six are recorded as natives also 
of Europe, and several of these being common species, liable 
to be introduced by man's agency, may be considered as 
doubtfully native. An analysis of Spruce's " Mosses of the 
Andes," yields nearly the same results. 

But when we compare the moss flora of New Zealand with 
that of Tasmania, we find a great similarity in the record. 

Tasmania is very much more remote from New Zealand 
than England is from the continent of Europe, and yet of 
the 158 species recorded from Tasmania 120 species are 
natives of both that island and New Zealand. Many of 
these Tasmanian species will be found to have a wide range, 
some being found in South America, and at least twenty- 
seven are found in South Africa. 

Berkeley, in the " Handbook of British Mosses," mentions 
a remarkable deviation from the general laws of distribution 
occurring in the centre of Germany : " In some situations 


the great boulders which are scattered over the plains are 
the habitats of Alpine mosses, such as Andreaa rupestris, 
Catoscopium nigritum, Grimmea leucophylla, G. tricophylla, 
which can scarcely be considered as the natural mosses of 
such situations, but may probably be classed as remains, 
being possibly survivors of species borne from their native 
Alps upon these boulders during the glacial period." So 
that it will be seen from the foregoing that there are many 
anomalies in the geographical distribution of mosses, and 
that at present our knowledge is too limited to admit of a 
truly scientific exposition of the subject. 

In the Introduction to the " Synopsis," chap, v., Prof. 
Schimper gives an interesting account of the geographical 
distribution of mosses in Europe. He divides the whole 
area of Europe into three zones. 

i st. A northern zone, extending from the Arctic circle 
to the sixty-fourth parallel of latitude, embracing North 
Russia and the Scandinavian peninsula, and at its western 
end descending to 57, so as to take in the north of Scot- 

2nd. A middle zone, embracing all the country between 
the 6oth parallel of latitude, the German Ocean, and the 
south foot of the Alps, or a line on the forty-sixth parallel 
of latitude from the outlet of the Danube to the mouth of 
the Garonne. 

3rd. A southern zone, extending south of the forty-sixth 
parallel of latitude to the Mediterranean and Black Sea. 
The northern zone presents sufficiently marked characters 
in the vegetation to indicate two divisions, which he calls 
the Arctic-northern and southern-northern zones. In the 
Arctic zone about 200 species are found; in the lower zone 
nearly 500 species, or about two-thirds of the whole Euro- 
pean moss flora. But Whilst the species in the Arctic zone 
are few in number, individually they are represented in such 
numbers as to give a characteristic feature to the landscape. 
The Polytricha, occurring in great masses, give quite a weird 
look to these inhospitable regions : here and there occur 
vast bogs covered with Sphagnums, and on the surround- 
ing rocks black tufts of Andreaeas and Grimmias. But here 


some of the rarest species reward the more adventurous 
botanist ; and it is in such unfrequented places in our own 
country, as amid the mountain districts of northern Scot- 
land, that we may " hold converse with Nature, and view 
her stores unrolled." The lively green of more temperate 
climes is nowhere visible among the far and wide-spreading 
mosses of the Arctic northern region, yet among them are 
found scattered species which far excel those of milder 
climates in beauty, as Splachnum luteum and S. rubrum, 
Bryum arcticum and Catoscopium. As we proceed southward, 
new species are added to our list, the trees lose their lichens 
and often support mosses. Still the Sphagnum swamps are 
a noticeable feature. In addition to the species mentioned, 
we may also find Splachnum Wormskjoldii, Encalypta 
procera, Mnium cinclidioides, M. hymenophyllum, Aula- 
comnion turgidum, and quite a host of Hypna Brya, 
Andreaei and Dicrana, which are confined to the northern 

The middle zone, as it embraces the greatest extent of 
country and the most varied surface, is also richest in 
species ; many of these pass over the northern and southern 
boundaries into the corresponding zones. More than 600 
species have been recorded from this zone, and many of 
them characteristic of it, such as Ephemerum tenerum, Ephe- 
merella recurva, Ancecantgium Hornschuchianum, Tetro- 
dontium repandum, Encalypta longicolla, E. apophysata, etc. 

The southern zone, having a more elevated temperature, 
and wanting the dense forests of Central Europe, is less 
adapted to the growth of mosses, and the list falls to 340 
species. Yet the Pyrenees and Apennines have a rich 
moss flora, and some species are peculiar to the Mediter- 
ranean area, such as Phascum carniolicum, Fissidens rivularis, 
F. grandifrons^ and a number of Trichostomacea ; some of 
which creep up the Atlantic coast of France, and extend 
over the south of Ireland and south-west of England, and 
thus become rarities in the British flora, such as Tortula 
Vahliana^ Trichostomum flavo-virens, Bryum Tozeri, and 

Besides this superficial distribution, another still more 


important is that of altitude or range above the sea level ; 
this is marked out by lines or arches, extending from pole 
to pole, the crown or highest point being at the equator, 
and gradually descending northward, whilst at the Arctic 
zone they become approximated. Professor Schimper has 
described five zones of altitude, all of them characterized by 
certain predominant species. 

Commencing at the sea level, we have ist. The Cam- 
pestral region, or that of cereal plants and fruit trees, which 
ascend the mountains to a varying height, according to the 
latitude. Thus, in the southern zone, in the Pyrenees, it 
reaches 3,100 feet on the south side, and 2,100 feet on the 
north side. In the middle zone it approaches 1,400 feet 
in the southern parts, falling to 750 feet and 500 feet in 
the northern limits. In the northern zone so rapidly from 
500 feet to o, that at 60 it disappears, and thus in the 
Arctic part of this zone the campestral region is wanting. 
This region in the separate zones presents different con- 
ditions of surface, such as the artificial substratum of 
elevated fields and roadsides, hills and woods, open desert 
plains, heaths, bogs, and marshes, and all varying inter se^ 
according to the nature of the soil, whether calcareous or 
sandy, argillaceous or loamy, rocky or stony ; and as each 
of these is more favoured by certain species, the aspects of 
the campestral region are very varying. In this region are 
found all those species which are diffused over the downs, 
heaths, woodlands, and hills of moderate elevations in the 
British Islands, a list too numerous to enumerate. 

2nd. The Mountain region ascends from the region of 
cultivated plants to the upper limit of the beech, and 
extends in the southern zone from an altitude of 5,800 feet 
to 6,800 feet, in the middle zone from 1,400 feet to 3,400 
feet, and in the Arctic northern descends into the plain 
very little above the sea level. The features of surface are 
dense woods of oak, beech, and pine, stony banks of 
streams and rocks, all localities congenial to a rich growth 
of mosses. The most characteristic species are Bryum 
crudum, elongatum, Duvalii, Cindidium stygium, Ampho-^ 
ridium Mougeottii, Racomitrium sudeticum, microcarpumi 


.many Dicraniacece, Grimmeacecz Polytrichi, Ulota Drum- 
mondii) Ludwigii, crispa, Hypnum Halleri, crista-castrensis, 

3rd. The Sub-Alpine region reaches from the limit of the 
beech to the upper limit of Pinus abies. The beech has 
ceased to be a tree where it does occur, and becomes a 
mere creeping bush. The chief features are pine and birch 
woods, rocky streams, bare mountain pastures, turfy bogs 
and rocks, the rapid streams bringing down many mosses 
of the next higher region, which mix with others from the 
one below. In the northern zone the most prominent 
mosses are Andre&a rupestris, A. falcata, Campylopus 
Schwarzii) Blindia acuta, Trichostomum flexicaule, T. homo- 
mallum, Grimmia ovata, G. contorta, Racomitrium patens, 
Mnium cinclidioides, M. spinosum, Plagiothecium nitidum, 
Timmia, Splachnum, Pogonatum alpinum, etc. 

4th. The Alpine region extends from the limit of the fir, 
-and commences with Pinus pumilio, or dwarf pine, ending 
where that ceases to grow. In the northern zone the birch 
tree has disappeared, but Betula nana or dwarf birch as 
an erect shrub occupies the marshy ground, and Salix 
Myrsinites, Menziesia ccerulea, Silene acaulis, Diapensia 
lapponica, etc., flourish abundantly. Many fine mosses 
now appear for the first time, and yield a rich harvest to 
the collector. This flora, as represented in our North 
British districts, may be thus enumerated : Dicranella 
Grevilhand) D. subulata, Dicranum falcatum, D. Blyttii, 
Stylostegium caspitosum, Distichium capillaceum, Lepto- 
trichium glaucescens, Grimmia funalis, G. atrata, G. 
alpestris, G. unicolor, Dissodon splachnoides, Webera poly- 
morpha, Bryum julaceum, B. Muhlenbeckii, Polytrichum 
sexangulare, Hypnum sarmentosum, callichroum, Bamber- 
geri, etc. 

5th. The Supra-Alpine region, reaching above the limit 
of Pinus pumilio and Betula nana to the line of perpetual 
snow. Here we have vast sterile rocks, some beaten and 
lashed by every tempest, others constantly irrigated by 
streams from melting glaciers, with patches of short grass, 
and black earth mixed with detritus from the rocks above. 


In the middle zone this region lies between 6,800 feet and 
8,300 feet ; in the northern from 4,800 feet it descends 
gradually to below 2,800 feet. Although the line of per- 
petual snow does not touch our Scotch mountains, we have 
snow-fields more or less extensive lasting through the 
summer, as on Ben Nevis and the Cairngorm ranges ; and 
we have some of the characteristic mosses, as Conostomum, 
Bryum demissum, acuminatum, Ludwigii, Pottia latifolia, 
Dicranum fulvellum, Grimmia contort a, elongata, and 
montana, Andrecea nivalis, obovata^ Hypnum glaciale, H. 
sarmentosum^ arcticum, etc. 


POSSIBLY few have thought the cultivation of the mosses 
a matter worthy of their attention, in fact, many a lover of 
plants would rather destroy than encourage them, yet few 
plants more amply repay the little trouble they require. 
But the difficulty is to make a start, or, having made a start, 
to retain in a flourishing condition the mosses we have. 
The choicer species are often most difficult to manage, as 
though their untamed natures refused to submit to the 
thraldom of cultivation. Another difficulty that I have 
found is this, that the commoner species such, for instance, 
as Funaria will overrun all others, and become as it were 
quite masters of the situation. To attempt to raise these 
plants from spores is also another disappointment ; certainly 
mosses come, but, so far as my own experience serves, not 
the mosses one requires. Hence I have found that, after 
all, the safest and surest way is to get the plants fully grown, 
to at once place them in their intended position, and above 
all to imitate as nearly as possible the natural surroundings 
of the plant. 

Fern cases are sometimes recommended for this sort of 
culture ; these I have tried myself, and have seen tried by 
others ; and my own experience is, that whilst the mosses 
really look beautiful and all that one could wish for a 
while, yet after the first season they degenerate, many of 
them die out, and others are so drawn up by the glass as 
to destroy all their natural beauty. 

The plan which appears to me to be the most successful 
is, as I have said, to get the plants from their native habitats 
in good condition, taking care to bring with them plenty of 
soil. I believe that one of the main reasons why these 


plants will not thrive is, that the collectors neglect to do 

The commoner species, such as Funaria, Tortula muralis, 
and Ceratodon, will scarcely require to be encouraged, as 
they will establish themselves wherever a likely wall or 
rock-work presents itself, providing that the place chosen is 
not in a smoky district. Some of the tree mosses, such as 
Leucodojn^sciuroides and Anomodon viticulosum (fig. 37), I 
have succeeded in growing by bringing some of the bark 
on which they were growing and fastening it down with pegs 
on the earth. To attempt to grow these after they have been 
removed from the bark will be sure to end in failure. In 
the case of those species which grow on rocks or stones, a 

FIG. 37. Anomodon viticulosum, natural size. 

portion of the rock should be, if possible, detached, as the 
mosses are more likely to live where they are established 
than they would be if they were removed from their habitat, 
and in these cases the pieces of rock, will require to be 
either bedded in the rockery or in pots, making the upper 
part of the rock level with or slightly above the level of the 

A very successful cultivator of mosses, Mr. R. Veitch, 
gives the following account of his mode of transplanting and 
cultivation : " For Grimmia pulvinata and Orthotrichum 
anomalum, I use a soft porous stone the size of the pot, 
rilling it with drainage to such a height that the stone, when 
resting on it, is level with the brim. The patches are then 
placed upon the stone with a little space between each, 
and for the purpose of keeping them steady I sprinkle a 



little fine mould into the open spaces. I then water them 
overhead with a fine rose. For mosses of this description 
little water is necessary ; and it ought never to be applied 
until the leaves begin to collapse, and even then with a 
sparing hand. They should then be placed in a cool, shady 
situation, and in six or eight weeks they will be attached to 
the stones. The mould being first removed by means of a 
gentle run of water, the pots are 
then placed in a more airy and ex- 
posed situation." And speaking of 
a really more difficult class of mosses, 
he says : " All varieties which partake 
of the same trailing habit as Hypnum 
prcelonguni) should not be planted, 
but laid upon the mould; three or 
four small pegs will prevent them from 
being moved. In the course of a few 
weeks, the pegs will be covered with 
a mass of green foliage." My own 
plan has been to bring home a good 
mass of these plants with plenty of 
soil, to lay them upon the earth of 
the rockery, and pat them down well 
with a spade ; this of course makes 
them dirty for a time, but a shower 
of rain soon remedies that. I have 
found that covering the newly trans- 
planted mosses with peg lattice has 
been a great help against the at- 
tacks of small birds, who are very apt to ruthlessly root up 
these plants without some such protection. 

Aquatic species, such as Fontinalis antipyretica or Cincli- 
dotus, can only be grown in water, and in these cases I think 
it is imperative that a portion of the stone or wood to which 
they are attached should be removed with them. I have, 
however, grown Fontinalis for a season, well, without any 

A few hints as to some of the more easily obtained and 
cultivated mosses may be of interest. 

FIG. 38. Atrichum 
undulatum, natural size. 


Atrichum undulatum (fig. 38) is a beautiful species, well 
worthy of attention ; btit it will require, during the winter, 
protection from frost or biting winds, and also plenty of 
moisture. Few species show so soon the influence of change 
of temperature. If a good supply of the beautiful fruit is 
required, it will be essential that good tufts are taken with 
a fair depth of soil, as the plant usually penetrates rather 
deeply, and care should be taken that there is a good 
sprinkling of the male flowers in the tuft. The soil used 
for potting this should be of a stiff marly or clayey nature, 
and little or no drainage will "be required. A plentiful 
supply of water will be needed. 

This plant will be found in woods and in moist, shady 
situations, more especially in heavy soils. 

Pogonatum urnigerum (fig. 39) and P. alpinum (fig. 31) 
are both worthy of cultivation, and should have a good peaty 

FIG. 39. PogonatTim jirnigerum^ natural size. 

soil and plenty of root moisture. P. commune never seems to 
flourish more than one season, but might possibly be made 
to succeed if a good depth of soil were taken with it, and 
the plant were grown in a seed pan with plenty of silver 
sand mixed with the soil in which it was imbedded. This 
will also want a good supply of root moisture. 

The extinguisher moss, Encalypta vulgaris, I have never 
grown. As this is 'an annual, it will require to be re- 
newed year by year. But Encalypta Streptocarpa (fig. n), 
which will be found often in abundance on old mortar- 
covered walls, will well repay cultivation. In this case I 
find it best to remove a fairly good patch of the moss with 
the mortar to which it is attached, and place it on the rock- 
work just as removed ; and to keep it intact until I reached 
home, I have found it advisable to wrap the whole mass, 
in some strong paper, else the friable nature of the mortar 
will cause it to crumble to pieces in the carriage. 


Many of the Bryums are worth growing \ and the large 
tufts of Bryum capillare, such as are frequent on old roofs, 
are easily removed and soon establish themselves, and if 
gathered when the fruit is still young and green will soon 
make a goodly show. 

Mnium undulatum also thrives well if removed in good- 
sized tufts, and seems to thrive better than most species 
in the confinement of a fern shade. I have had it in beauti- 
ful fruit under such culture. Mnium hornum will require 
plenty of moisture, is easily cultivated, and will give a good 
supply of fruit. 

The wall species, such as Bryum argenteum, B. caspiticium 
(fig. i), and B. murale, require but little moisture, and 
seem to thrive best when grown in shady situations. The 
genus Hypnum will yield a number of species that will 
amply repay any attention that may be given to them. My 
own experience will only embrace ff. rutabulum, H. 
prcelongum, H. confertum, and H. denticulatum. But I have 
seen H. tamariscinum and H. loreum cultivated in a friend's 
moss-house with great success, the former fruiting freely 
under culture, and the latter, although always sterile, still 
showing a most vigorous growth. Hookeria lucens, too, I 
have seen under like circumstances; and here the plan 
adopted was that of keeping the pot in which the plant was 
growing always immersed to a fair depth in water. The 
beauty of this plant when well grown can only be realized 
by those who have seen it. 

Fissidens taxifolius (fig. 20, upper figure), which will be 
found on shady banks in heavy soils, may also be grown 
in a properly constituted soil ; but with both this plant and 
the smaller species, F. bryoides, experience teaches that a 
fern case suits best for their growth. F. adiantoides, a fine 
moss growing in marshes, will do best with the treatment 
given to Hookeria lucens, as mentioned above ; and as it 
always appears to fruit best in the dampest situations, such 
treatment would probably be productive of good results. 
I have never grown this. Many other species may be tried 
with success, such as Aulacomnion palustre, Dicranum 
scoparium^ some of the Rhacomitriums ; but experience 
will be a better teacher than I can hope to be. 



LOOKING at these plants from a utilitarian point of view, it 
must be confessed that their uses are few that is, if by use we 
mean only that which adds to man's material wealth, sustains 
him with nutritious food, or conduces in one way or other 
to his bodily comfort. But if we admit as of direct utility 
that pleasure, or source of pleasure and pleasurable in- 
struction, that these plants afford to the naturalist, and that, 
too, at a season when few other plants offer themselves to 
his notice, then we may claim for these plants a right to 
be considered useful. 

As is well observed by one of our botanists (Dr. 
Johnston) : " It is curious to notice how gay these little 
mosses are on every wall-top during the winter months and 
in early spring, almost or perhaps the only things which 
seem to enjoy the clouds and storms of the season. They 
choose the most exposed situations, spread out their leaves, 
and push up their capsules amid rains, frost, and snow; and 
yet there is nothing in their tender, loose structure from 
which we could a priori infer their capability of resisting 
influences so generally destructive to vegetation. But so it 
is, the more simple the organization of plants, the stronger 
is their tenacity of life : and its phenomena are exhibited 
and called into play by stimulants, not only very feeble, 
but apparently the very reverse of those necessary to excite 
plants of a higher order. Thus mosses and lichens, over- 
stimulated by heat and dryness, wither away in summer, 
but vegetate freely at a season when there is no other 
vegetation, and when their humble fronds cannot be over- 
shadowed by a ranker growth." In highly civilized lands 
like our own, we are so abundantly provided with not only 


the necessaries, but also the luxuries of life, that to us the 
uses of the mosses are few, and might by some be thought 

Hypnum triquetrum, from its extreme elasticity and light- 
ness, is said to be much used for packing brittle wares, 
and is also sold in shops dyed often a most intense green 
for decorative purposes. Hypnum purum is used by anglers 
for the purpose of scouring worms. Hypnum tamaris- 
cinum is greatly employed for insuring the safe transport of 
leeches ; they travel with far less injury when protected by 
the moss, than when in vessels of water only. Fontinalis 
antipyretica is employed in Sweden to fill up the spaces 
between the chimneys and the walls, and thus, by excluding 
the air, it prevents the action of the fire upon them. 
Hence it derived its specific name, antipyretica, which has 
led to the erroneous idea that it is incombustible. John- 
ston, in his " Flora of Berwick," says that, in the north of 
England, mattresses superior to those of straw are sometimes 
made with Polytrichum commune, and it is also woven into 
door mats, and its luxuriant stems are used for making neat 
brushes. White, in his interesting " Natural History of Sel- 
borne," Letter XXVL, says : " While on the subject of rural 
economy it may not be improper to mention a pretty little 
implement of housewifery that we have seen nowhere else ; 
that is, little neat besoms which our foresters make from the 
stalks of the Polytrichum commune, or great golden maiden- 
hair, which they call silk wood, and find in plenty in the 
bogs. When this moss is well combed and dressed and 
divested of its outer skin, it becomes of a beautiful bright 
chestnut colour, and being soft and pliant, is very proper 
for dusting of beds, curtains, carpets, hangings, etc. If 
these besoms were known to the brush-makers in town, it is 
probable they might come much into use for the purpose 
above mentioned." 

To the Laplanders the services of this moss are much 
greater than to us, for it affords them both " bed and bed- 
ding." They choose the starry-headed plants, out of the 
tufts of which they cut a surface as large as they please for 
a bed or bolster, separating it from the earth beneath ; and, 

USES. 87 

although the shoots are scarcely branched, they are never- 
theless so entangled at the roots as not to be separable from 
each other. This mossy cushion is very soft and elastic, 
not growing hard by pressure, and if a similar portion of 
it be made to serve for a coverlet, nothing can be more 
warm and comfortable. " I have often," says Linnaeus, 
" made use of it with admiration ; and if any writers had 
published a description of the simple contrivance of the 
Laplanders (which necessity has taught), I could almost 
imagine that our counterpanes were but an imitation of it. 
They fold this bed together, tying it up in a coil that may 
be grasped by a man's arm, which, if necessary, they carry 
with them to the place where they mean to sleep the night 
following. If it becomes too dry and compressed, its former 
elasticity is restored by moisture." P. commune is slightly 
astringent, but is not now used here in medicine. In 
Germany it is esteemed as a sudorific. At one time it was 
famed for promoting the growth of hair, which it may pro- 
bably do quite as well as some of our much-puffed nostrums. 
Another useful tribe of mosses, the Sphagnums, may 
also be mentioned. These are now largely used in the culti- 
vation of orchids, their power of retaining moisture render- 
ing them of especial value to the gardener for this purpose. 
They have also been used for their package and transport 
in a fresh state. For this purpose they are excellently 
adapted, and Mr. W. Curtis obtained a reward from the 
Society of Arts for his valuable discovery of the great ad- 
vantages derived from the use of these mosses for packing 
young trees for exportation. By Laplanders and Icelanders 
they are used for lining their neat and curious cradles. In 
cold countries they are also employed as a warm lining or 
stuffing for the loose deer-skin boots which the reindeer 
drivers wear. And lastly, to quote from Dr. Braithwaite's 
valuable work on the Sphagnaceae : "As to the economic 
uses of the Sphagnacetz, they are but small, except as a 
source of easily procured fuel, and in this respect indeed 
they are of immense importance, for no substitute could be 
found in the thinly populated and barren districts of the 
North, where trees become an insignificant object in the 


scenery, or cease to grow at all ; yet Nature, by the very 
means which produce these widely extended solitudes, 
supplies one of the first requirements of those who occupy 
them, and everywhere is peat annually cut, dried, and 

With regard to the functions of these plants in the formation 
of peat, I cannot do better than quote Professor Schimper's 
words. He says : " Unless there were peat-mosses, many a 
bare mountain ridge, many a high valley of the temperate 
zone, and large tracts of the northern plains, would present 
a uniform watery flat, instead of a covering of flowering 
plants or shady woods. For just as the Sphagna suck up 
the atmospheric moisture and convey it to the earth, do 
they also contribute to it by pumping up to the surface of 
the tufts formed by them, the standing water which was their 
cradle, diminish it by promoting evaporation, and finally 
also by their own detritus, and by that of the numerous 
other bog-plants to which they serve as support, remove it 
entirely, and thus bring about their own destruction. 
Then, as soon as the plant-detritus formed in this manner 
has elevated itself above the surface water, it is familiar 
to us by the name of peat, becomes material for fuel and 
all Sphagnum vegetation ceases." 

But not only do mosses fill up and consolidate bogs, 
they are also as it were the pioneers of vegetation, and by 
their growth and decay year after year at length form a 
mass of vegetable mould sufficient for the nourishment ot 
vegetables of higher organization ; these in their turn give 
way to still higher forms, until at length we have, instead of 
a bare mountain side, a rich vegetation which may not 
serve merely to gratify our eye or inform our mind, but 
may also yield that which shall sustain us by its nutritive 
properties, or by its medical properties alleviate or mitigate 
our suffering. 



THE student who is in earnest about the study of the 
mosses will find a great advantage in having a series of 
well-authenticated specimens always ready for microscopi- 
cal examination. As much time will be lost if these speci- 
mens have to be dissected whenever they are required for 
comparison (and this will often occur at starting), it is well 
to have as complete a series as opportunity will allow, per- 
manently prepared for the microscope. 

My own plan has been this : whenever I have received 
a specimen from an authority, or had my own specimen 
confirmed by authority, to at once mount a portion of this 
specimen, to label it with its proper scientific name, putting 
on the label the name of the moss, the authority, locality, and 
the number as given in the " London Catalogue of British 
Mosses." These moss slides I keep in a separate cabinet, 
placed in proper sequence, and each drawer in the cabinet 
has the first and last number of the species contained 
marked on the outside, so that I can at once find any slide 
I want. I have found this practice of greatest service. 

To some of my readers it may be useful to give my own 
plan of preparing these specimens. I will therefore endeavour 
to give in a few words my own modus operand/. I may first 
state that I use the 3x1 inch glass slips, and the f glass 
circles for my cover glasses. These can be obtained from 
most opticians at small cost. The moss to be mounted 
should first be well washed, to get rid of any dirt that may 
adhere to it ; then, if recently gathered, soaked in tepid 
water ; but if an old specimen, it will probably require to 
be boiled for a second in a test tube, to get rid of all air 


contained in the leaf-cells, etc. This boiling does not 
injure the mosses, and will be always found necessary in 
such mosses as the Sphagnums. If the moss be a small 
one, such as one of the Phascums or a small Dicranella, it is 
well to mount the specimen whole, with all the various parts 
displayed, such as capsule, operculum, calyptra, etc. But it 
is always necessary to have one or two leaves carefully dis- 
sected away from the stems, so as to show their structure, 
the form and nature of the leaf-cells, the margination, i.e. 
entire or serrate on the margin, the shape of the base and 
the character of the cells at the base, a matter often of great 
importance. This may readily be done if the stem be cut 
through immediately below the base of the leaf, with a small 
knife or one of the triangular needles such as are used by 
glovers ; the leaf should then be turned back and detached 
from the stem. In the Hypnums and other pleurocarpous 
mosses it is necessary to have perfect leaves from the stem 
as well as from the branches, as the character of the stem- 
leaves is always of importance in the diagnosis of the 
species. Some also of the perichsetial leaves are also added, 
these are the leaves immediately around the base of the fruit- 
stalk, also the lower portion of the fruit-stalk divested of 
the perichaetial leaves, to show the character of the vaginule. 
This is of special value in some mosses, as in the Ortho- 
trichums. The capsule with the operculum on, and with it 
removed, may also be added, so as to show the presence or 
absence of the peristome and annulus, the character of the 
operculum or lid, whether conical, rostrate, etc. All these 
parts are then placed on a clean glass slip, and mounted 
in glycerine jelly, Deane's gelatine, or glycerine pure and 

Before, however, mounting the specimen in either gly- 

* It may here be mentioned that in some instances, i.e. where the 
leaf-cells of the moss are very dense, such as the Andreseas or the 
Grimmias, these cells may be made more distinct and their character 
more fully displayed if the leaves be placed for a short time in a heated 
solution of dilute liq. potass or liq. soda ; but leaves so treated must be 
thoroughly washed afterwards in clean water, to remove all traces of 
the re-agent, before being mounted. 


cerine jelly or Dean's gelatine, it should be soaked in a 
preparatory fluid, otherwise these mediums will not properly 
permeate the specimen. The preparatory fluid is made as 
follows : 

Rectified spirits, ij ounce. 

Distilled water, ij ounce. 

Glycerine, 3 fluid drachms. 

Mix, and keep in readiness. A drop of this fluid is placed 
on the .object, which may then be put away under a bell 
glass for one or two days. As the spirits and the water 
evaporate, the glycerine will take their places in the cellu- 
lar tissue of the specimens. When pure glycerine is used, 
the specimens are better if soaked for a time in glycerine 
before being permanently mounted, so that all water con- 
tained in the object may be thoroughly displaced by the 

When the object has been well soaked in the preparatory 
fluid, it may then be mounted in either Deane's gelatine 
or glycerine jelly, the former medium being the best. All 
the superfluous fluid must be drained away, the glass slip 
and cover glass warmed. The gelatine may be melted by 
placing the bottle in which it is contained in a little hot 
water for a time. When melted, a drop should be placed 
on the object, the cover glass should then be gently breathed 
upon and carefully placed on the drop of the medium, and 
when this is thoroughly set, a ring of the white zinc cement 
should be put round the cover glass to fix it to the glass slip 
and also to prevent evaporation. The slide may then be 
labelled, numbered, and put away. 

The peristomes of mosses also form beautiful as well as 
instructive objects. These should be mounted dry in most 
cases, although in some of the smaller capsules the whole 
capsule, with its peristome, may be mounted in one of the 
mediums above mentioned. My usual plan, however, is to 
mount these peristomes in a cell sufficiently deep to allow a 
cover glass to be affixed without injury to the object. The 
vulcanite rings serve, but are apt to warp, and so come off 
the slide later on. The glass cells are best, but are very 


expensive ; but some nice cells may be cut out of cardboard, 
as follows : "Two punches, similar to those used for cutting 
gun wads, are procured, of such sizes that with the smaller 
may be cut out the centre of the larger, leaving a ring whose 
side is not less than one-eighth of an inch wide. These rings 
may be readily made, the only difficulty being to keep the 
sides parallel, but a little care will make this easy enough. 
For these cells a close-grained cardboard with a well-glazed 
surface should be selected." The rings may be made to 
form a cell any depth by placing one upon another ; and if 
they are well soaked in gold size, they will permanently 
adhere, and will be also rendered impervious to atmospheric 

The moss capsules to be mounted, assuming that several 
are going to be placed in the same cell, are all cut the same 
length, and fastened at the bottom of the cell with gum.f 
My own plan is to fix one capsule on the glass slip, at the 
bottom of the cell; and when this is firmly fixed, to build 
any other capsules I may wish to place in the cell around 
this. After allowing the gum to become quite dry, I then 
place on the top of the cell one of the round glass covers, 
and fasten this down with the white zinc varnish or gold 
size. It is often somewhat difficult to remove the opercu- 
lums when the capsules are old and dry ; but I have found 
that by placing these capsules in some hot water for a few 
hours, I could then readily remove the operculum with either 
one of the triangular needles mentioned before or with my 
dissecting knife. Of course, these capsules must be allowed 
to dry thoroughly before they are placed in tfye cell, and the 
spores should be removed from the inside of the capsule, 
else they will be found a constant trouble later on. 

A good representative slide should have a capsule 
mounted with the operculum on to show its character ; the 

* One of these cells, made as above, should be fixed to the glass slip 
with gold size, and allowed to become properly dried before being used ; 
this will then form a neat cell. 

t A mixture of equal parts of gum arable and gum tragacanth is best 
as this makes an opaque fixing agent. 


calyptra, and a capsule with the operculum removed to 
show the character of the peristome, when present ; and all 
these parts should be so cut and mounted that they may be 
in focus with at least a two-inch objective. 

Sections of the moss stems, leaves, and capsules will also 
be found very instructive objects. To get sections of the 
stems or leaves I take a fairly good quantity of the moss in 
question, and soak it in gum for a second or two ; this, when 
dry, will fix the stems together in a bundle. This bundle I 
place in a section cutter, and with a sharp razor cut one or 
two very thin sections of the whole mass, floating the cut- 
tings off on to one of the glass slips. In this way I get 
sections of both stems and leaves. The cuttings I examine 
with the microscope, and select out those which serve my 
purpose or if there are none such among the cuttings, 
I make some more sections, until I get such as will suit my 

To cut sections of the capsule, I select a nice green cap- 
sule of such a moss, for instance, as Funaria hygrometrica, 
taking care that it is not too ripe for my purpose, though 
it is requisite that sections should be made through capsules 
in various degrees of development. These capsules I dip 
in gum solution, and allow to dry for a few minutes. I then 
fix them in a flat piece of the solid paraffine. This is readily 
done by making a shallow gutter in the paraffine with a heated 
wire or the tang of a small file. The capsules I place in 
this gutter, before the molten parafrme has set, placing it in 
as good a position for my purpose as possible. When the 
parafrme has set, thin sections are cut with a very sharp 
razor, cutting at the same time both paraffine and capsule, 
and these sections as cut are floated off into some water on 
one of the glass slips. The gum with which the capsules 
were coated soon melts, carrying with it the adhering par- 
ticles of paraffine. 

* The water in which these sections are placed after cutting removes 
the gum used in fixing, and they may be more thoroughly washed by 
allowing a little water to trickle drop by drop among them ; this will 
remove any superfluous particles of gum, etc. 


The paraffine may then be removed with the needles or 
washed away, the sections examined with the microscope, 
and such as serve retained. Before mounting these sec- 
tions permanently, they should be soaked for a time in a 
drop of the preparatory fluid above mentioned and -then 
mounted in Deane's gelatine. Care will be required to be 
used in removing the sections from the slip on which they 
have been soaking to the mounting fluid, and I find the 
better way is to float them first of all on the slip I intend 
to use for mounting. 

The sections of moss capsules I do not cut in a section 
cutter, but, placing the piece of paraffine in which they are 
fixed under a lens of about two-inch focal length, I cut the 
sections without the aid of either microtome or section 
cutter, merely watching through the lens so that I may see 
that I am not cutting my sections too thick. I have more 
than once cut nine sections out of one capsule in this 
manner. The razor will require constantly dipping in some 
fluid to get rid of adhering particles of paraffine, and I find 
that water with a slight addition of spirits of wine (methyl- 
ated spirits will serve just as well) serves my purpose best. 
The razor used for this purpose cannot be too sharp, and 
should be kept with a nice clean cutting edge, to avoid any 
danger of fraying. 

The section, when cut, should show well and distinctly 
capsule wall, alga-like cells in the air cavity continuous 
and complete, section of mother spore cell band, and the 
structure of the columella, as seen in fig. 9. 

As a matter of course, every section will not be a success, 
in fact, many of these will be worthless, but a little practice 
will soon render the cutting of these sections a matter of ease. 
The moss capsules that I have found most interesting are 
those of Funaria hygrometrica, F. fascicularis, Bartramla 
pomiformis, Polytrichum formosum^ this is a most beautiful 
object when well cut, Bryum capiUare,2X& Tor tula subulata 
It must be distinctly borne in mind that the capsules must 
be fresh ; if they cannot be cut immediately after gathering, 
they should be kept in water, so that they may be kept quite 
fresh; and, again, they must not be too ripe, otherwise the 


spores will be formed, and in this state the section loses 
much of its beauty and interest. 

To prepare mosses for the herbarium is a matter of little 
difficulty. First of all, they will require to be pressed, either 
between folds of proper botanical drying paper, or in some 
other absorbent paper ; old newspaper will serve, but not so 
well as the botanical drying paper. 

The pressure should be slight, not more than about 14 
Ibs. If the tufts are large, it is better to break them up 
into convenient- sized pieces, but not too much. The habit of 
the plant should always be shown, if possible. Where pos- 
sible, it is of advantage to reserve a portion impressed, i.e. 
simply allowing it to dry in the opened paper. Fragile or 
delicate species may be folded in thin cap paper, so that 
they may be removed from the drying papers without loss 
or hurt. And unless the specimens are very wet, three or 
four days' pressing will be enough, changing the drying 
papers each day. 

When the specimens are dirty, as they often are in very 
wet weather, they may'be washed by holding the specimen in 
the palm of the hand and allowing a stream of water to 
trickle on to them ; they may then be dried with a rough cloth, 
and transferred to the press. It will be found advisable to 
remove any roots or leaves of grass, etc., from the tufts 
before they are pressed ; it will be much more readily done 
when they are still fresh than afterwards. 

When properly pressed, the specimens may be fixed upon 
sheets of note or other paper with gum, glue, or paste, or, 
better still, sewn on. The sheets should be of some fixed 
size, or some multiple of this. I find sheets of commercial 
note paper a very convenient size for large specimens, half 
sheets for smaller ones, and so on. It is also advisable to 
have specimens from more localities thap one, and all the 
sheets of any one species should be fixed on one larger sheet. 
I use quarter sheets of double crown paper, 15 x 10, for 
pinning my smaller sheets upon ; and I keep each species to 
a separate sheet, using a separate sheet for varieties. When 
the genus is a small one, I put all the species of a genus in 
a fold of thicker paper, stout cartridge or brown paper ; and 


where the genus is a large one, I have two or more such 
folios, putting the name of the genus at the top of the sheet, 
with the first and last number of the species in the folio on 
the margin. For instance, if the folio contained the genus 
Dicranella, I should head the sheet with that name, and on 
the margin put 48 57, these being the numbers as given 
in the " London Catalogue of Mosses." The generic and 
specific name of each moss should be placed on the sheet 
on which it is mounted, together with the locality and date 
when collected. It will be found serviceable, when a speci- 
men is examined microscopically, to sketch what is seen on 
the paper to which it is fastened. This will often render 
the sheets of great value and assistance in future investiga- 

I have found that a magnifying power of 70 diameters is 
sufficient for nearly all the mosses that I have determined ; 
or when some more critical point had to be decided upon, 
140 diameters. 

" The tiny moss, whose silken verdure clothes 

The time-worn rock, and whose bright capsules rise 

Like fairy urns on stalks of golden sheen, 

Demands our admiration and our praise, 

As much as cedar kissing the blue sky, 

Or Krubal's giant flower. God made them all, 

And what He deigns to make should ne'er be deemed 

Unworthy of our study and our love." 

Butler Si Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 






on n 1 was 



:6 '95-4001 



FORM NO. DDO, 50m, 1 1/94 BERKELEY, CA 94720