Field of Science

Want to learn the California mosses?

If your answer to this question is yes, then you are in luck. There are some great resources out there to learn to identify mosses in California. 

One is this book California Mosses by Bill and Nancy Malcolm, Jim Shevock, and Dan Norris. This book is amazing! It has over 300 pages of color photos and covers 176 moss genera that live in California. Identification via leaves is the main focus of this book. The idea is to pull a few leaves off of a stem, place them in a drop of water on the back of your hand, and then examine them with a magnifying lens (hand lens or loupe). There are black and white images of all the leaves that show the general outline and midrib as well as unique features such as hair points or a curved margin. These drawings are sorted at the back of the book by genus and unique features. 

Another resource for moss identification in California is the California Moss eFlora. This is an online moss identification resource that includes keys to the genera and species, line drawings and photos of the taxa, and maps with species distributions. 

I am new to using both of these resources, but think that they are going to be super helpful as I explore the moss flora of California. If you have any thoughts to share on these resources feel free to leave a comment. 

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