Field of Science

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Shamrocks and leprichauns are green just like mosses. To celebrate the day I dug through my digital photos and came up with some green mossy gems to share. Below is a photo of the moss species that I am working on for my dissertation research, Funaria hygrometrica.

This is another species in the Funariaceae, Physcomitrium pyriforme with sporophytes that have matured and are now brown.

All of these photos were taken a couple of years ago. I initially tried growing my mosses on soil in pots in the greenhouses we have on campus. Unfortunately the mist rooms kept them too moist and the mosses were overrun by cyanobacteria and algae. That is when I switched to growing them in little plastic terrariums on a light cart in my laboratory.

I am not sure which species is below. The leafy gametophytes of members of the Funariaceae all look very similar and I did not mark the photo.

There are a few more photos below the fold. Enjoy!

These are some hornworts that my labmate Juan Carlos had planted up in the greenhouse. From the almost readable label it looks like they might be in the genus Anthoceros.

An additional up close shot of the capsules and calyptra of Funaria hygrometrica.

In this batch of bryophyte images I also took a number of shots of the orchids that grow in our teaching greenhouses. Though they are gaudy angiosperms I thought that I would include a couple of them here.


  1. What is that? In the pot ,the soil contain some white and red stone. Is the white one ver?miculate? And what is the red ones

  2. I think that the white ones might be vermiculite, but I am not sure about the red ones. I potted those plants a couple of years ago and I went through a stage where I was trying a bunch of different soils that they mix up in our teaching greenhouse. So I am not sure what this one is made of.

  3. Hi Jessica,
    Nice blog! Mosses are beautiful and much underrated plants! My blogspot header at wightrambler is of moss capsules growing on a sea wall near here on the Isle of Wight. Maybe you can tell me what species the moss is? If you follow the link from there to Cabinet of Curiosities there is an absolutely beautiful shot of wall moss with dew drops, and follow the link from there to Beyond the Human Eye and even more moss capsules under the microscope!


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