Monday, February 16, 2015

Redshank (moss)

This little bryophyte was growing in one of our plant pots and I felt I should make an effort to identify it so we could enjoy a new taxon that, like lichens, is commonly overlooked.
I've tried identifying mosses before and not found it easy, even with the British Bryological Society's great field guide. After a good half an hour perusing the keys, I have decided that this is redshank or Ceratodon purpureus. This is one of the commonest mosses in the UK according to the book, which I found reassuring. It should not be confused with the wader of the same name.
The thing about moss identification is being able to see the leaves clearly. Given that they're often only a millimetre long this can be challenging. I recently purchased a x20 hand lens to supplement my standard x10 one and found it much better for seeing the necessary detail.
Unlike lichens, it appears that most mosses have been given a common name. Why not lichens? 
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