Bryolog 28 (25 May 2022)


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

  • “Introduction to bryophytes” session on Saturday 16 July 2022, and “Moss keying” session on Saturday 20 August 2022, with Stephen Rae at UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity. Details HERE
  • Save the date for SO BE FREE 27, 23–26 June 2023, Sagehen Field Station near Truckee, CA. Preview HERE
  • CalFlora’s 8th Annual Photo Contest now has a separate category for bryophyte photos. Deadline is May 31st.

Quarterly Report

  • Results of chapter election and welcome to new officers HERE
  • Message from the new president, Ben Carter HERE
  • SO BE FREE 26 report HERE

Timeless Bits

  • Videos of Jepson Workshop “Introduction to Bryophytes” now available online. Details HERE
  • Guide to Liverworts of Oregon and A Lane County Almanacby David Wagner, on sale nowDetails HERE


—Stephen P. Rae, Bryophyte Chapter Rare Plant Coordinator and DAV Curator of Bryology

There is a new mentoring program to introduce bryology and train bryologists. Using the Center for Plant Diversity (UC Davis herbarium) as a base, we are offering bryological workshops. The workshops will be hands-on mentoring events in the lab. The focus is on several common Northern California mosses, the keys used in their identification, and the tools and techniques used. We have scheduled an introduction to bryophytes session on Saturday 16 July 2022, with a following session focused on keying on Saturday 20 August 2022. Interested in attending, send a message to me ( Attendance is limited due to space and materials.

The LESKEA – MOSS (Let’s Key A Moss!!) sessions are part of a broader effort by members of the Chapter in Northern California. Another effort, the CaBF, the new California Bryoflora Forum, welcomes Northern California bryologists (and those aspiring to be bryologists) to a new support group (a local discussion and sharing opportunity that will expand to in-person gatherings and field trips). Until now, a Zoom group of Chapter members facilitating peer coordination, the CaBF also includes Bryophyte Chapter coordination for rare species conservation. We are a conduit to the CNPS Rare Plant Program in providing bryological assistance in their species reviews. However, all efforts are aimed at increasing bryological effort and the number of bryologists throughout Northern California, and the development of a regional bryological resource center in Davis.

Interested in LESKEA – MOSS sessions or the CaBF: send me a message (

SO BE FREE 27 Preview

Friday to Monday, 23-26 June 2023

Sagehen Field Station, Truckee, CA

Founded in 1996, SO BE FREE is a series of West Coast forays started by the Bryolab at UC Berkeley, open to all botanists. The main focus is on bryophytes, but we also encourage experts on other groups to come along and smell the liverworts. We welcome specialists and generalists, professionals and amateurs, master bryologists and rank beginners. SO BE FREE is held each year, somewhere in the Western US. Evening slide shows and informal talks are presented, as well as keying sessions with microscopes. In addition to seeing interesting wild areas and learning new plants, important goals for SO BE FREE include keeping West Coast bryologists (and friends) in touch with each other and teaching beginners. To see pictures and information from past outings, visit the SO BE FREE web page at:

One important function of SO BE FREE is to serve as the annual meeting of the Bryophyte Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. See: for details, and to join!

The upcoming 2023 SO BE FREE will be held at the Sagehen Field Station, located at an elevation of 6,380 feet on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, 20 miles north of Lake Tahoe, just north of Truckee, CA. Embedded in the 9,000 acre Sagehen Experimental Forest, and located along the lengthy meadow systems which adjoin Sagehen Creek, the field station will act as a springboard for opportunities to explore the bryofloras of the varied habitats to be found in the high Sierra. The habitats in the immediate vicinity of the Sagehen Field Station include fens, subalpine forest, streams and lakeshores, and the aforementioned meadows loaded with enormous masses of Sphagnum

The field station has rustic accommodations on site, but 20 minutes away lies Truckee, CA, with many hotel offerings. Those interested in attending should plan for their stay soon, as the summer is a busy time for the region, with people flocking from all over to experience the blooms and beauty of the short season. Additionally, several campgrounds are situated only a few minutes drive away for those who wish to tent camp or arrive via RV.

Results of Chapter Election and Welcome to New Officers 

Brent Mishler, outgoing president

The results of the election are in! I thank all those who voted, and Paul Wilson for serving as Judge of Elections again this year.  

Kiamara Ludwig was elected for a second term as Treasurer. She has done a wonderful job in this position and we are pleased that she is willing to continue in this important role.

Kirsten Fisher was elected President Elect and will take office as President in two years. She is a professor and department chair at California State University, Los Angeles, with an active lab mentoring students in bryology. She was the organizer for this year’s SO BE FREE — a very successful event!

Ben Carter took over from me as President on 1 April 2022. He is an associate professor and director of the Sharsmith Herbarium at San Jose State University, and also has an active lab mentoring students in bryology. 

Please consider running for office in future years. The chapter only keeps working if volunteers step forward. See our Standing Rules — on how you can get involved.

It has been fun serving as President these last two years. I thank everyone who was pitched in to help out the chapter. We got through the COVID pandemic years in amazing shape, all things considered! The future looks very promising for the chapter and California bryology!

Message from the President

—Ben Carter

As we continue to grow as a CNPS chapter, I’m very excited to be participating in the leadership for the next couple years. We’ve seen continued progress in the scientific arena with papers on floristics in the recent special issue of Madroño edited by Jim Shevock, as well as an uptick in outreach through the work of our many chapter liaisons. This year’s SO BE FREE in the Mojave Desert was a great opportunity to build our community with our new and old friends in the cryptogamic crusts community, and we’re excited for our many upcoming events. Front and center is the CNPS conference, 18–22 October 2022 in San Jose ( which will feature a session on bryophyte conservation, as well as an introductory workshop on bryophyte identification. As we head into the summer, it’s a good time to start thinking about working with your local CNPS chapter to plan a rainy-season bryophyte walk. Or perhaps you’ve got a story to share on Bryolog about some interesting bryophyte natural history you’ve been observing. The thing that makes this group so special is the enthusiasm that we all bring to it, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you as we all continue forward together.

SO BE FREE 26 Report

—Kirsten Fisher

From 25–28 March 2022, the 26th annual SO BE FREE took place in the Mojave Desert. We based our event out of the Desert Studies Center (DSC) in Zzyzx, CA. The DSC is a 1200-acre field station run by the California State University system and located within the Mojave National Preserve, on the edge of Soda Dry Lake. There are several natural springs in the area that flow year-round and attract diverse birds and other wildlife.

We visited a variety of sites for this year’s field trips, including sky islands in the New York Mountains, well developed biological soil crusts near the Kelso Dunes, desert washes, Clark Mountain, and the Providence Mountains. We had a good number of students attending this year, and enjoyed some great microscope sessions with both beginners and experts! 

palm trees and their reflection at sunrise
Sunrise at the Desert Studies Center
a group posing for a photo in the sandy desert
Biocrust enthusiasts near the Kelso Dunes
scene with boulders and scrub
Crystal Spring trail, Providence Mts.
two people near and on bench
Larke and Bill relaxing in the Providence Mts.
moss amid rocks
Syntrichia caninervis with lichens, Mojave Natl Preserve
dry liverwort
Asterella californica in the Providence Mts.
Pentagramma maxonii in the Providence Mts.
The group photo!

Videos of Jepson Workshop “Introduction to Bryophytes” now available online

Brent Mishler

I led a virtual workshop on 12 March 2022 called “Introduction to Bryophytes,” hosted by the Jepson Herbarium. This was a virtual reincarnation of the famous in-person Jepson Workshop offered every other year since 1994, and covered the evolution, ecology, and systematics of mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, as well as introductory remarks on how to identify them. It was recorded and edited by Jepson Herbarium staff and is now freely available online at: ­— thanks to a grant from IMLS. Some images in the slides shown in the presentations were kindly contributed by colleagues — notably Ken Kellman, Paul Wilson, Mel Oliver, and Andi Cairns — as we have shared teaching Powerpoints back and forth over the years.

Guide to Liverworts of Oregon and A Lane County Almanac, by David Wagner

David Wagner’s Guide to Liverworts of Oregon is now available on flash drive, along with bonus instructional materials. The guide is replete with beautiful photographs, as well as descriptions and keys to Oregon’s liverwort and hornwort species, many of which are also found in California.

David has also recently published a book entitled A Lane County Almanaca compilation of his natural history writings, wonderfully illustrated with his original drawings.

cover of book

Here’s what readers are saying:

“Your book is wonderful! I just finished the chapter on December. I love the combination of the text and your fantastic illustrations. Congratulations on making it. It was a big and creative project that many people will enjoy and appreciate.”

Bitty Roy, Professor Emerita, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Oregon

“I’ve enjoyed dipping into your Almanac at the beginning of each month and also reading the essays. Your information is peerless, and I also think your voice is wonderfully engaging. Thanks for being such a welcoming guide to the good stuff outdoors.”

Charles Goodrich, gardener and poet, former Director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word, Oregon State University

Each book costs $25. Please email David for mailing instructions:


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