Field of Science

The Mosses of her Passion - The Signature of All Things

From the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of
The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
***Spoiler Alert***
This post may contain plot details and quotes from The Signature of All Things
Proceed with caution!

The mosses have finally arrived as significant characters in Part 3! We discover that Alma has decided to devote her time and energies to studying mosses in the genus Dicranum and she becomes the world expert on this group.  I am most familiar with Dicranum scoparium, the broom moss, which is common in eastern deciduous forests. It's common name comes from the leaves that are all curving in the same direction, as though the moss had been used to sweep the floor. It is one of the first species I like to teach people when walking in the woods. It is charismatic and easy to recognize. 

The moss pictured in this plate is Dicranum squarrosum. The specific epithet of the scientific name describes the leaves of this species, which stick out at right angles to the stem. This arrangement is due to the leaves having a bend in them, which can be seen at the bottom center of the plate. 

It was a bit of a tease, or foreshadowing, that these images of Dicranum were placed at the end of Part I, long before Alma discovered her passion for mosses. Mostly it had me wondering when we would start to hear more about the mosses.  Stay tuned for more to come on the mosses of Part 3!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS