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moss identification

Dear Ronda,

The photo isn't clear enough to id the species easily. To be able to safely identify the species by genus let alone the species one would need a microscope.

The leaves are the small structures. The stem is the central part. Branches come out of the stem. Both stem and branches have rows of leaves. In certain species of moss the leaves on the branch and stems have different shapes but you would need a microscope to see this.

One way of easily telling Fontinalis (if it is a Fontinalis) apart from Vesicularia is that the former has 'leaves folded longtitudinaly and arranged in three strict rows so that the shoots appear three sided'. Use a powerful lens if you don't have a microscope.
Vesicularia dubyana has leaves almost flattened in one plane much like the Christmas moss (which is also probably a Vesicularia species). The latter branches much more readily giving it the christmas tree shape.

Liverworts come in two main sorts: The leafy liverworts and the thallose. The leafy liverworts look very similar to normal mosses, ie with a stem and leaves on the sides. Their leaves do not have 'veins' however. 

Thallose liverworts are composed of a single flattened structure. In the genus Riccia the flat structure 'the thallus' branches like forks. In terrestrial species these structures are wide, but in Riccia fluitans these are very elongate and narrow. If you look at it closely however you would see that the structure is continuous and in the same plane although the plant may become twisted into a ball shape. It has no leaves. The whole structure is called a thallus. Few liverworts are aquatic so what you have is probably Riccia fluitans.   

If you like you can send me a small sample of the mosses. I will gladly help you in their identification if I can. I would also greatly appreciate it since I am building up both a living and dried collection of mosses from around the world. My main interest is in aquatic and amphibious mosses. If you need any more info please feel free to contact me.



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