Bryolog 8 (25 May 2017)


As a general policy, check the website for event updates before you walk out the door!

  • In November, we will be having an election for Treasurer and for President Elect. The Chapter won’t exist if people don’t run. If you are interested, email
  • SO BE FREE 23 will be staged out of the Siskiyou Institute in southern Oregon 24-27 March 2018.
  • David Potts and Paul Wilson will lead a walk on Saturday 17 June at Feather River College in Quincy, starting at 9:30 am. The following day, Sunday 18 June at 9:30, we will have time with microscopes. Meet at Science Room 107.
  • We will have Microscope Days at California State University Northridge on Tuesday 25 July and on Sunday 20 August, starting at 9:00 and running to maybe 3:00. Bring food to share or we’ll order delivery. There’s no formal presentation, and we imagine these events are for those who are more than rank novices. Microscopes and books are provided. Just bring some specimens and go at it. Parking on campus is $8, or you can park off campus and walk in. We meet in Chaparral Hall 5335 on the third floor.
  • We are having a discussion of how to involve students and other underrepresented groups in the Chapter. We have started a blog for such discussions. An associated development is the initiation of an iNaturalist account.

Quarterly Report

  • SO BE FREE at Three Rivers was a big success. People are working on a list of species seen. Please enter your data on the linked sheet.
  • Membership is finally starting to get worked out. We are very sorry that the system is so clumsy. CNPS members are able to affiliate with more than one chapter at no extra cost. The number of affiliated members bears great symbolic importance; we are the newest chapter and have to prove ourselves. We now have over 100 members affiliated with the Bryophyte Chapter. It would be so sweet to get that number to 200 someday.
  • Field trips have been better because of the production of photographic guides. We now have nine such guides, and they are always subject to revision. Take a look on the website under Resources, Beginner, Trail Guides.
  • The liaisons now number 20, close to the number of very active local chapters. Some tweaking and additions will be necessary over the coming year, but we are close to our goal. Liaisons organize walks, talks, and microscope days with local chapters, sometimes bringing in experts. The liaisons, along with directors and assistant directors, form a core group of members who have been elevated to receive more than the minimum number of emails, chatter about chapter goingson. And, the liaisons attend events and scouting trips more than the hoi polloi.

Timeless Bits

  • At events people ask questions of liaisons. Often the answers demand considerable synthesis of science, and (you might be surprised) the science is not always in abundance. So, the liaisons are starting a page of Frequently Asked Questions. Check out the first four entries…
  • Nickté Mendéz and Paul Wilson have illustrated and revised the key to the core part of the Orthotrichaceae. This could serve as a model for improvements to the California Moss eFlora. Check it out and if you find mistakes send us corrections. Photographic key…
  • The website has been expanded to give a history of all past SO BE FREE events. If you have photos or other memorabilia to add, email John Brinda.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bryophytes

Q. Are there native and non-native bryophytes? Yes, there are native and non-native bryophytes, but the non-native proportion of the flora is much lower than for seed plants. Bryophytes tend to have very broad distributions. Most of California’s non-native bryophyte species grow in lawns, greenhouses and gardens, and would not survive if not watered. For example, Calliergonella cuspidata, a moss species which grows in fens, is now found in lawns and has apparently spread via lawn mowers.

Q. Are there invasive bryophytes? Yes, there are a few examples, but as a whole invasive bryophytes are not as problematic as are invasive vascular plants. The most infamous example is Campylopus introflexus, a moss native to the southern hemisphere, which now covers large areas of acidic coastal dunes in Europe and has consequently altered local invertebrate communities. It was first seen in Oregon in the early 1970s and is now one of most abundant plants on stabilized sandy soils as far south as Mendocino County.

Q. Are there rare or endangered bryophytes? Yes, a number of bryophytes are rare, but unfortunately they have not received the same protective ministrations as have rare vascular plants, primarily because there is not enough information about them. The Bryophyte Chapter aims to change this by raising awareness of bryophytes, teaching professional and amateur botanists to identify bryophytes, and providing consultants with the tools they need to recognize species that are listed as rare. Professional and amateur botanists can help by looking for bryophytes in the field, identifying them, and adding locations to distribution maps. Bryophytes comprise 10% of the flora of California and deserve protection. For more on rare bryophytes, read Jim Shevock’s recent essay

Q. What are the conservation concerns for bryophytes? The most common threats to bryophytes are habitat loss due to expansion of agricultural and (sub)urban development. Alterations of local ecosystems resulting from changes in fire regime or alien vascular plant cover have also caused problems. In the Pacific Northwest, swaths of mosses are stripped from trees for decorative use by the floral industry. Many bryophytes would be relatively easy to protect as they are restricted to specific microhabitats and would require rather small conservation areas. Unfortunately, data on the distribution of bryophytes lags far behind that of vascular plants. Again, professional and amateur botanists can help with this.

Upcoming FAQs include, Do animals eat bryophytes? and What good are bryophytes, anyway? If you have questions, or more importantly answers, that you’d like to see on our FAQ page, please email

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