Identification of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts)

Most bryophyte species require a careful dissection in the lab to be identified to the species level with certainty. Many of them even need the preparation of microscope slides with sections of the stems or leaves, measurements and descriptions of cells, ...

In contrast, most of the pictures we upload to iNat are more casual, taken with smartphone cameras: often it will be impossible to nail a species even if the photo is extraordinarily good.

When I post an observation and ID it to species level, it may be because I identified the specimen in the lab, but it may also be an educated guess based on the species that are most common in the area. Sometimes other possibilities can't be totally excluded, but I understand that a bryophyte ID based on a high likelihood embraces the spirit of iNaturalist facilitating everybody to become familiar with the most common species. This also applies when I add or confirm an identification of someone else's observation: without a dissection of the specimen it may be impossible to be completely certain, but I can give my opinion of the most likely possibility to the best of my knowledge.

Nevertheless, if you ever need a professional bryophyte identification, I can help! Contact me for details, I am always happy to receive your specimens if you allow me to keep a duplicate in my personal herbarium.

Posted on March 19, 2016 04:55 AM by rmedina rmedina


great comments rmedina!

Posted by leannewallis almost 8 years ago

Thanks! :-)

Posted by rmedina almost 8 years ago

Very interesting and difficult group. I find a few in the Mojave desert and never I.D. them. Quite a few are really outstanding to photograph and observe.

Posted by lonnyholmes over 4 years ago

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