Field of Science

Some More Mosses from Japan

While in Japan I traveled to the small town of Nozawa Onsen. It is about an hour north of Nagano, via train and then bus. Nozawa is nestled in the mountains and is famous for the many onsen (hot springs) that dot the village. I hear that it is also a great place to ski and we saw many ski lifts heading up into the surrounding mountains. While walking around town we visited a shrine that was surrounded by moss.

However, I did not collect any mosses. I am not sure what the karma impact might be from collecting moss from the grounds of a shrine. So I just took some pictures instead.

The photo to the right is a member of the Orthotricaceae. All of the little tan/brown structures are the sporophytes. The Orthotricaceae are recognized by their short sporophytes with upright capsules. Typically they grow on tree bark or rocks and have dark green gametophytes that can sometimes appear black when dry.

Sculptures on the grounds of the shrine were covered in mosses!

These a a couple of shots of some Fissidens sp. Members of this genus have a really gorgeous morphology! The leaves do not spiral around the stem as in most mosses. In Fissidens they have a distichous leaf arrangement, meaning that they are positioned 180 degrees opposite each other on the stem. It is the same leaf arrangement that you see in Iris plants. This distintictive pattern of leaves makes mosses in the genus Fissidens stand out from other species in the field.

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