What is moss is that?

A great new book was launched on the weekend at Castlemaine, Mosses of dry forests in south eastern Australia. It was interesting to see the number of people who turned up to see a book launched about such an overlooked group of plants, but then there are a lot of people with a passionate interest in the environment in the Castlemaine area.

The authors Cassie Read and Bernard Slattery together with a team of enthusiasts from the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (Mt Alexander Region) have produced this beginner guide. There are simple diagrams of the leaves, clear descriptions without too much botanical language and great photos. The important diagnostic features are covered and similar species mentioned as well.

Mosses play an important ecological function yet we sometimes don’t pay them the attention they deserve. They are found in throughout the bush and in areas such as cemeteries, on paths and  tree trunks and on the ground soon after a fire.

This book fills a void in our collection of field guides to take out into the bush, and is a very handy size for the backpack. The most common and eye catching mosses are covered but don’t forget to take your hand lens as you will still need to check the shape of the leaves and the margin. In summer it is worth taking a spray bottle of water to get the moss re-hydrated and easier to identify.

If you already have a book on mosses this new one brings includes name changes so your older book is still relevant. There is no denying that mosses are tricky to identify but this book has done a lot of the hard work and opens up a whole new world.

Here is the link to the order form

Some useful references from the book are

Australian Bryophytes      Australian Mosses Online         Bryophyte Ecology

Here are some mosses found growing near Fryerstown

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One response to “What is moss is that?

  1. Pingback: Branch with Lichen « Fifteen Acres

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