Bryolog 19 (27 February 2020)


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

  • CANCELLED: Paul Wilson will lead a walk starting from Santa Fe Dam Nature Center (Irwindale, Los Angeles county, 34.1186, -117.9438) on Saturday 21 March. There will be a photoguide to the liverworts and mosses. Plan on 8:00 am-12:00 pm. Bring a hand lens. Entry is $10 per car. Rain cancels. Contact
  • CANCELLED: SO BE FREE, our annual foray and chapter meeting, will be held 20-23 March 2020 at the Saratoga Springs Retreat Center in Lake County, California, in the heart of the North Coast Ranges, with a diverse flora ranging from redwoods and mixed evergreens in the lower elevations near the coast, to boreal forests and rocky crests in the higher elevations, to savannas, chaparral, and oak woodlands of the lower elevations in the interior. Details and registration:
  • POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Chris Wagner will lead a monthly bryophyte identification group the first Friday of each month at 4 pm at the Menifee Valley Campus of Mount San Jacinto College (Riverside county) in Building 300, Room 315. The group is open to all levels of expertise from beginners to advanced. Microscopes and tools are provided. Bring your mosses, liverworts and hornworts to identify together. Please RSVP to Chris Wagner, 503-758-3268.
  • David Wagner is offering a three and a half day intensive bryophyte identification workshop at the Andrews Experimental Forest, in Blue River, Oregon, 28 September to 2 October, 2020. Tuition is $400 plus $132 for lodging. Space is limited; early inquiry is recommended. Please contact David directly at for registration instructions. Full description HERE…

Quarterly Report

  • Ben Carter has been elected President Elect. He will serve two years as such and then two years as President of the Chapter. Kiamara Ludwig has been re-elected Treasurer. Jim Shevock will be rotating off the Board. We thank him for his leadership as President these last two years.
  • Read Jim Shevock’s final Message from the President HERE…
  • Marisela de Santa Anna and Kerry Heise report on their recent moss and lichen hike for the Sanhedrin Chapter in Mendocino County HERE…
  • A  three day workshop entitled “Charismatic Microflora: The Ecology and Management of Biological Soil Crusts” was held February 20–23, 2020 at the Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, next to the Mojave National Preserve. The workshop was led by Matt Bowker, Kirsten Fisher, Brent Mishler, Tom Carlberg, and Mandy Slate, in association with their collaborative research project on “Desiccation and Diversity in Dryland Mosses” The workshop combined classroom lecture with hands-on activities at the microscope, and visits to the field, and covered the basics, including: What is a biocrust? What are biocrusts composed of? How are biocrust organisms identified? Where are biocrusts found? How do the organisms in biocrusts manage to survive and reproduce in such a seemingly harsh environment? What role do biocrusts play in ecosystems? How can biocrusts be managed? See photos HERE…

Timeless Bits

  • Check out David Wagner’s images of Porella navicularis, arguably our most common leafy liverwort in the region around California’s northern border. These are intended to illustrate how it is necessary to study the entire colony of a Porella before settling on a name. MORE…
  • Species Spotlight: Tracking Hennediella stanfordensis, an ephemeral moss that lacks sporophytes, by Amanda Heinrich, MORE…

Field Bryology Workshop:  28 September – 2 October, 2020

David Wagner is offering a three and a half day, intensive bryophyte identification workshop at the Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue River, Oregon ( This workshop is designed for those with a strong botany background and basic knowledge of bryophyte structure and life cycles. Folks with previous experience studying bryophytes can expect to increase their familiarity with the regional flora. The class involves integrated lectures, field study, and lab practice. The classroom has good microscope bench space for 12, which limits the size of the class. Participants must bring their own microscopes, personal dissecting tools, and laptop computers.

The focus is on practice with contemporary identification keys pertinent to the Pacific Northwest:

  • Contributions Toward a Bryoflora of California: II A Key to the Mosses (D. Norris and J. Shevock, Madroño 2004) with attention also given to Elva Lawton’s 1971 Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest, and the moss volumes (v. 27 & 28) of the Flora of North America.
  • Identification of liverworts and hornworts emphasizing Contributions toward a Bryoflora of California: III Keys …for Liverworts and Hornworts (W. Doyle and R. Stotler, Madroño 2006).
  • Using the digital Guide to the Liverworts of Oregon (D.H. Wagner, Northwest Botanical Institute, 2018 version), supplemented by online treatments of the as yet unpublished liverwort volume of Flora of North America.

Participants will receive:

  • Practical tips for hand lens identification in the field.
  • Supervised training in lab techniques needed to observe the features used in keying.
  • A selection of archival and unpublished material (both printed and digital format).
  • A comprehensive review of online resources.
  • Review of the most useful current literature from other parts of the world.
  • A selection of study specimens for microscopy, including prepared slides.

Arrival and microscope set up in the laboratory will take place Monday morning, 28 September. The first classroom session begins at 1 pm. The classroom will be available at all times from Monday through Friday. Evening sessions are designed for individual, supervised study.

Lodging check in will take place on Monday, 28 September, either during an afternoon break in the class or in the evening after the class session. All participants are expected to use the Andrews Experimental Forest housing. Staying on site allows evening sessions in the classroom and socializing in the apartment common area. Participants fend for themselves in a kitchen furnished with pots and pans and utensils. A small grocery is located a few miles away. We’ll work together and eat together. The apartments have 4 bedrooms with 2 single beds each and a communal kitchen. The reservation is for four nights; rooms must be vacated Friday morning, 2 October.

Tuition is $400 plus $132 for lodging, including bed linens, pillow, blanket and towels. Space is limited; early inquiry is recommended. Please contact David directly at for registration instructions.

David H. Wagner, Ph.D.
Northwest Botanical Institute
P.O. Box 30064
Eugene, OR 97403-1064

Message from the President

—Jim Shevock

It’s hard to believe but my two-year term to represent you as President of the CNPS Bryophyte Chapter will soon come to a conclusion at the end of the upcoming SO BE FREE. Brent Mishler will then take over as President. Ben Carter is lined up as our President-Elect and his term as President will be 2022-3.

It has been a wonderful journey representing you and advancing awareness and the importance of bryophytes at the CNPS Council. I also freely admit that I wish I would have had more time to devote to specific projects and programs during my term as President, but due to international expeditions, I have been out of the country for 3+ months for the past several years. Nonetheless, as a chapter we continue to grow and develop. One of the greatest things is having other CNPS chapter representatives come up to me during Council meetings stating how impressed they are with the commitment and dedication of the Bryophyte Chapter toward the governance of CNPS. Others complimented the chapter on providing bryophyte walks and talks. As a non-geographically based chapter, we pushed the Society into unchartered waters. Now the verdict is in: having the Bryophyte Chapter adopted into the CNPS family has been a real plus.

I also realize that no matter how hard the chapter board has tried to get participants signed up well in advance for each SO BE FREE foray (we have tried a variety of pre-registration incentives) some of you just can’t plan your lives that far in advance, so now is the last chance to sign up for the 25th SO BE FREE! Truly the 11th hour. It will be a momentous occasion.

As I have stated previously, it really is important to renew your membership to CNPS when you receive the notice to do so. If you are not sure about your status, you can easily check. We know if you are a lapsed member! And if you just have not gotten around yet to joining CNPS I hope you will take this moment to do so. It’s easy. You can do it directly from our chapter homepage. Just be sure to list Bryophyte as your chapter affiliation (and you can also be affiliated with a second chapter without any additional cost).

While our board is strong, we have some additional positions (like the Rare Bryophyte Chair) that are vacant, and soon we will have vacancies on the Board. It is not a huge commitment of time to serve but as a non-profit organization it runs entirely on the goodwill and service of volunteers. Serving is for a very specific term unless you want to run for re-election. Our whole governance structure is designed for frequent turnover of officers. No one will get burned out serving a two-year term on our board. Our first three presidents of the chapter are men and our President elect is too, so I would really like to see more gender diversity in the future composition of the chapter board. It would be wonderful for some younger members to get involved too. I know you can do it. We will not need to vote for a new President-elect until two years from now, so surely one of you can decide to run for that office and then become the chapter President in 2024-25.

I also want to personally thank the current members of the Chapter Board who have dedicated time to make the chapter function. Thank you to our President Elect, Brent Mishler, our Treasurer, Kiamara Ludwig, our Fieldtrip Director, Bill Thiessen, and our Secretary, Larke Reeber. And of course I am most thankful and appreciative for all of the hard work and dedication Amada Heinrich has done over the years to make Bryolog timely and informative. Our website provides our members with a lot of useful information and links to various tools for the study of bryophytes.

The one thing I have found out about ‘retirement’ is I’m working longer and harder now than I ever did when I had a full-time job! But it is bryological work I enjoy doing and it gives me much satisfaction and personal growth. Serving as your Chapter President for the past two years has been a joy.

A Moss and Lichen Outing Along Reeves Canyon Road, Mendocino County, CA

—Marisela de Santa Anna and Kerry Heise (CNPS Sanhedrin Chapter)

A moss and lichen excursion was led by Marisela de Santa Anna, Kerry Heise, and Jen Riddell on February 15th along Reeves Canyon Road, which starts at the junction of Hwy 101 just north of Ukiah and meanders west up Mill Creek to its headwaters near Leonard Lake. The winding 11 mile road climbs over 1,000 feet, passing through a variety of habitats including oak woodland, Douglas fir/redwood stands, chaparral, and numerous rock outcrops. From a show of hands our group of 23 (not counting the leaders) were completely unfamiliar with bryophytes and lichens, but everyone seemed excited by the challenge ahead.

About 2 miles in we stopped at a large partially shaded boulder to gather the group which turned out to be a perfect spot to introduce mosses and lichens while observing a great variety of species such as Amphidium californicumAntitrichia californicaFunaria hygrometricaGrimmia pulvinataG. trichophylla, possibly G. lisaeHedwigia detonsaHomalothecium nuttalliiPseudobraunia californica, and the umblicate foliose lichen Umbilicaria phaea. Oaks shading the rock were covered in Antitrichia californicaDendroalsia abietinaOrthotrichum lyelliiPorella sp. and showy macrolichens such as Evernia prunastriFlavopunctelia flaventiorPseudocyphellaria anthraspisRamalina farinacea, and Usnea sp.

As we traveled up the canyon we stopped at a small rivulet that had carved a channel through soft sandstone, now shrouded in Scleropodium obtusifolium which formed a well-demarcated line with the moss-covered rocks above. Saxifraga mertensiana and Polypodium glycyrrhiza complemented a bryophyte cover of Anacolia menziesiiAtrichum selwyniiHypnum subimponensIsothecium cristatumKindbergia oreganaPolytrichum juniperinum, and Targionia hypophylla. On more level ground away from the water the bizarre flowers of fetid adder’s tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii) caught the group’s attention. Further on, a short pond stop yielded zero aquatic bryophytes (we were hoping to see the floating thalloid liverwort Ricciocarpos natans), however, the adjacent shady roadcut was fairly rich with Atrichum selwyniiClaopodium whippleanumDidymodon sp., Scleropodium touretiiTargionia hypophyllaTimmiella crassinervis, and the lichens Peltigera neopolydactyla and Cladonia sp. scattered about.

Toward the end of our day we ate a late lunch high on a ridge overlooking the upper Pruitt Creek watershed and Orr Creek running through Montgomery Woods State Natural Preserve to the south far below. After our meal we followed a small dirt road that traversed a south-facing slope of grassland and chaparral. The sunny roadcut was almost barren of plant growth except for an occasional sighting of Syntrichia ruralisCeratodon purpureus, and Didymodon vinealis. Finally, we were rewarded by an area of steep, seepy sandstone slabs above a bend in the road. Here, Didymodon norrisii and an unknown Bryaceae (possibly Plagiobryoides) were scattered about in full sun on moist rock, while patches of Crumia latifolia hid below in wet recesses. It was obvious there was a lot to explore here but reluctantly we turned and headed back up the hill. Overall, this was a fine day with plenty of moss and lichen diversity enjoyed by a great bunch of folks.

people looking downsloping rock with mosses
South-facing slabs with Didymodon norrisii and possibly Plagiobryoides.

Biocrust Workshop Photos


people in a conference room
Biocrust workshop lecture by Matt Bowker


people in desert looking at soil
Biocrust workshop participants in the field


dry moss with glassy leaf points
Syntrichia caninervis


we moss
Tortula inermis


moss and lichen
Aloina with lichen (Placidium)

Variations on Porella navicularis

David Wagner shares his excellent images of Porella navicularis, arguably our most common leafy liverwort. Both photos are from the same plant. The first one is of a small, slender shoot that best demonstrates the morphology characteristics of the species as used in identification keys. The second is of a large, robust shoot with numerous branch buds in leaf axils. These are intended to illustrate how it is necessary to study the entire colony of a Porella before settling on a name.

microscopic view from the underside of a leafy liverwortmicroscopic view from the underside of the apex of a leafy liverwort shoot

Species Spotlight: Tracking Hennediella stanfordensis, an ephemeral moss that lacks sporophytes

—Amanda Heinrich

After Paul Wilson introduced me to the cute little rosettes called Hennediella stanfordensis, I began to see them everywhere—playgrounds, rest areas, scrappy open spaces littered with beer bottles discarded by drunken UCSB undergrads—because that’s the way Hennediella stanfordensis rolls. What piqued my interest most was that H. standfordensis, an allegedly ephemeral moss, is not seen with sporophytes in California. From whence does it arise?

At first glance, Hennediella stanfordensis resembles a flattened Tortula, and indeed, it is the moss formerly known as Tortula stanfordensis.

habit of a carpet of moss
Hennediella stanfordensis

Patches of Hennediella stanfordensis stand out as a brighter, yellower green than most mosses, with a matte finish due to the high papillosity of the cells. However, when thoroughly wet, plants are shinier, more translucent and a slightly deeper green (both are visible in the photo above).

Distinguishing characters of Hennediella stanfordensis are the prominent snaggle teeth at the apex of the oblong/elliptic leaf, the distinct border composed of a bistratose layer of elongated papillose cells, and a sturdy costa. These are all visible in the field with a decent hand lens.

leaf seen through a microscope
Mature leaves are oblong/elliptic, often with a slight violin shape (panduriform)


distal part of leaf as seen through a microscope
Snaggle teeth are prominent even on smaller, inner leaves and immature leaves


microscopic view of leaf margin
Limbidium composed of a bistratose layer of elongated lightly papillose cells. Neighboring laminal cells are heavily covered with c-shaped papillae


microscopic view
Leaf cross-section illustrating bistratose margin

The much smaller, more erect leaves tightly clustered at the plant’s center, surrounded by larger, more horizontal leaves give the plants a flowery look. Snuggled within these tiny leaves are archegonia, occasionally single but often multiple. With nary a male plant to be found, these poor females will be waiting a lifetime.


microscopic view of perichaetium
Archegonia, left at the altar


In the absence of sexual reproduction, and without any obvious means of specialized asexual reproduction, how does an ephemeral moss maintain its existence? (Note: The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland mentions the reliable presence of rhizoidal gemmae, but Flora of North America does not. In my informal studies, I occasionally found irregular projections on rhizoids that may or may not have been gemmae.)


microscopic view
Possible rhizoidal gemmae?

In 2017 and 2018, I checked on my favorite clumps of Hennediella stanfordensis here in Santa Barbara County and found that, though they were hideously brown and crisped in October, a few leaves became green when wetted, and after the first few rains the plants were relatively healthy again. Perhaps the species was not so ephemeral afterall, or perhaps my interpretation of the word “ephemeral” needs revising. Admittedly these clumps were rather robust and growing in the shade.

This year I attempted to track both shaded and more exposed populations of Hennediella stanfordensis in a slightly more methodical manner. After the first rainfall of the season, on 27 November 2019, I searched for plants along a trail in the Camino Corto Open Space in Isla Vista, where I had previously seen extensive, largely pure populations, some shaded, some more exposed.


view of vacant lot
Study sites were all on the compact soil along the edges of this trail in Camino Corto Open Space, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County

Immediately after the rain I found scattered plants which had green leaves, typically the smallest leaves clustered at the apex of the shoot and a few larger leaves. More exposed sites had fewer plants which appeared to revive immediately, and only the innermost leaves were green.


27 November 2019, one day after the first rainfall, scattered plants in shade had green leaves


28 November 2019, scattered plants in more exposed sites, had green innermost leaves
Within a few days, plants lacking any green leaves began to sprout green fingerlike projections, most commonly from the tips of brown rhizoids nestled amongst the uppermost dead leaves. Occasionally I saw these protonemal-like projections extending from the costa of completely brown leaves. Plants both in shade and partial sun sprouted such projections, but occurrences were much more numerous in shaded areas.

30 November 2019 protonemal projections appeared atop completely brown plants

30 November 2019 protonemal projections appeared atop completely brown plants


30 November 2019 tips of rhizoids high up on plants became green, apparently developing into protonema

30 November 2019 greening rhizoid tip


A week later, by the middle of December, I commonly saw the buried stumps of brown, decapitated plants covered with green finger-like protonemal projections, some of which appeared to be developing into new leaves. I also found several examples of old horizontal stems buried under the soil which appeared to be sprouting multiple new shoots like a nurse log.

16 December 2019 protonemal projections apparently developing into leaves on stumps of plants buried in soil
macro photo
Protonemal projections emerging from buried stumps in the field

By early February, plants in the exposed sites had dried up, but the excavated patches of soil where I had made small collections in shaded areas were covered by protonema. In fact, many additional depressions in the soil were also filled with protonema. For weeks I watched these patches but perhaps because of the paucity of rain they remained static. Just days before the deadline for this newsletter, I finally found tiny Hennediella plants sprouting within the protonemal patches. I was unable to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these plants were arising directly from the protonema; I never found clear attachments between the new plants and the protonema, perhaps because the plants had already become independent, or perhaps, in the process of removing sand and soil and gently teasing apart the mass of threads I disrupted the tenuous connection. On most of the nascent plants I saw one transparent rhizoid which appeared to have been attached to transparent rhizoid-like threads beneath the green protonemal mass.


17 February: new Hennediella stanfordensis plant emerging from spreading protonema, with thick colorless rhizoid similar to those of protonema itself


Protonema with similar transparent rhizoid

In summary, the Hennediella stanfordensis (which I’ve observed in Santa Barbara County) appears to be eternal, rather than strictly ephemeral, rising like a phoenix from the flame, via protonemal projections from brown, apparently dead and severed plants. The protonema seem to be able to spread at least small distances to slowly expand a population, even in a year with minimal rainfall.

Hennediella stanfordensis is said to be a “mundivagant” species of typically ruderal habitats, wandering the world in the footsteps of Homo sapiens. It was named after the campus of Stanford University, where it was first distinguished. We humans may inadvertently help to spread the species by stepping on it or otherwise disturbing it, encouraging new growth from decapitated shoots into nearby patches of bare compact soil, and most likely transfering bits and pieces to new exciting locations such as hiking trails and rest areas. Maybe next year I will attempt to replicate this transfer by sprinkling bits of Hennediella along neighboring trails which lack any of the plants.

Want to highlight a species or genus? Send your submissions anytime to Amanda Heinrich, Assistant Secretary,

And feel free to email me with your observations on Hennediella stanfordensis—I’d love to hear them.

♥ ♥ ♥

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