Mosses and Liverworts-wall to wall carpet | VERDURE

Mosses and Liverworts-wall to wall carpet | VERDURE

Mosses and Liverworts-wall to wall carpet | VERDURE

Mosses and Liverworts are everpresent in my garden. Now and until the trees and the understory clothe themselves in fresh leaves, the interesting textures of moss are apparent. I lost an hour or two wandering the bare brambles, photographing the denizens of moist, shady nooks where they thrive. Rocks, tree trunks, stumps and soil are coated in the soft textures that require regular precipitation. A month from now the mosses will be lost to the ebullience of elderberry, ninebark and the onslaught of blackberries.

50 Decorative and useful ideas to make with wood logs - Lucid Life
The joke of all is that you know to take the trunk as well, as it is naturally, and to be able to find a functional use. All this with dry and sturdy trunks, in branches or alone, and of all thicknesses and sizes.

Moss with spore capsule on elongated arrow

I do not know much about the bryophytes, the grouping that contains mosses, liverworts and hornworts. What I do not know since they do not have the well-developed water-conducting systems of vascular plants, they grow where water is plentiful; some even have the capacity to completely dry out and remain dormant until rain returns. Naturally Western Washington hosts many bryophytes.

I am attempting to get better at telling the mosses from the liverworts. Both produce spores on reproductive structures called sporophytes-consisting of a stalk and a spore capsule. Apparently, the elongated stalk (seta) is more noticible on mosses, and their capsules open at the tip to release the spores. Liverwort capsules split into fours to release spores and tend toward shorter setae. That said, I'm using my trusty Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon to guestimate species in my garden.

© Colleen Miko, 2011