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Re:: moss mystery

Cameron wrote:
"I have bought java moss locally and from AZ
Gardens.  Both were a stringy sort of moss, like lots of fuzzy threads. "

That sounds like Vesicularia dubyana, "Java Moss" to its friends, although
without seeing a photo it is hard to tell. But most of the Java Moss I've
seen grows like a many branched, fuzzy thread. But once it is attached to a
substrate, like rock, wood or cork, it can subtly change its growth habit.

"I have also bought willow moss from aquabid, and it was something
different--stiffer, wider, and traveled worse than java moss."

Possibly a species of Fontinalis. There are many different species, some
need cold running water others are from tropical areas. In some of Amano's
books, he identifies Fontinalis antipyretica in several places - pretty
plant but I don't know how certain he was about the ID.

"I have also
gotten christmas moss from Loh Kwek Leong.  This was altogether different
from the previous two (based on my observation, as I'm certainly no
botanist).  It was more flexible, for lack a better word, like java moss,
but shaped a little more like willow moss, but a nice bright green (willow
moss seemed to be darker, except on very new growth)."

I have the Christmas Moss, although from another hobbyist in S-E Asia, and
it is starting to grow in a couple of my tanks. The term "Chistmas Moss"
seems very appropriate, given the way it has started to grow for me. And I
notice that newer growth is a lighter green (this is in a high nutrient tank
so it isn't a deficiency symptom). It too early to tell anything else. It
was initially described to me as a species of Fontinalis from S-E Asia, but
Tom has said that it is a species of Vesicularia from the Amazon. He didn't
site any reasoning behind his claim, so I don't know what or who to believe.

Once I have the Christmas Moss I have growing well, I'm going to send a
sample off to a Bryologist for a better answer. (at least, I hope to get a
better answer......).

"Well, today I got an
order of java moss from aquaticplantdepot.com and guess what...it isn't like
the java moss I get at the LFS or from AZ Gardens...it isn't willow moss
like I've gotten from other hobbyists...it IS, however, as near as I can
tell, the same as the christmas moss that our friend from Singapore sent. "

Always nice to have a domestic source for something that might become the
next big fad (I think most of us are over Riccia tied to rocks).

When you get right down to it, as hobbyists, it doesn't really matter what
the scientific name is, just that there are several different varieties
available to us. But if I was ordering Christmas Moss from a dealer and was
shipped regular Java Moss, I think I might be more than a bit peeved.

James Purchase