Field of Science

My Bryology Bookshelf - V

Another book that I picked up recently was a great book of fabulous images from Bill and Nancy Malcolm, entitled The Forest Carpet. This book is from the authors of the spectacular bryophyte glossary. They cover all three lineages of bryophytes (liverworts, mosses and hornworts), one lineage of ferns, a couple of fern allies (aka. fern friends), and lichens. The images are large, filling the pages of this coffee-table sized book. Each image comes with an informative caption, identifying the specific species pictured and notes the magnification. There are photos of the plants growing in their particular habitat, closeups of the exterior of the plants, and some sections showing the interior arrangements of the cells.

The goal of this book is to make people aware of the smaller organisms that make up the green background that covers the forest floor like a carpet in New Zealand, hence the title. I think that this book does a great job of immersing you into this miniature world!


  1. That does look like a good book! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for it.

    Also, on another blog I follow, they did a post on moss. One is about a moss in architecture competition and the other is about moss graffiti. Have you heard of the latter? What do you think?

  2. Hey Liza,
    I have seen the little skull and bones moss graffiti before. However I had not heard about the larger Moss Your City project. I clicked through to their link and read up some on their project.

    One of the issues I often think about is the scale of the project. Moving a little moss around in your back yard to make a sculpture or garden is pretty low impact. Those moss covered walls in London are a totally different scale. If they grew the moss specifically for this project then I would be in favor of it and their methods would be quite sustainable. Unfortunately I think that all their mosses are wild-collected, based on this line in their text.

    "Naturally abundant and requiring low maintenance, moss could be exploited to create new types of architecture that unite nature and architecture."

    While mosses are naturally abundant, I found their use of the word "exploited" disturbing. I think that is great when people bring mosses to the forefront of the public's awareness. And greening up city space is a fabulous idea. However I don't think this should be done at the expense of the plants and the wild areas where they live. I imagine the wooded area they harvested from looking as bad as a strip mine. A lot of these patches of moss could be decades old and will take that long or longer to regenerate in the wild.

    Also what happens to all the mosses when they take the exhibit down? Are they going to replant them somewhere?

    I guess that my major concern boils down to artists/architects/gardeners growing mosses sustainably for use in their projects rather than wild collecting. Nonetheless they are quite beautiful and creative.

    Cheers - Jessica


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