Your one-stop shop for learning about bryophytes

So – what is a bryophyte? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the collective name for mosses, liverworts and hornworts – and most people have some idea of what mosses look like, even if it is just as ‘that annoying green stuff that tries to take over my lawn’. If you’d like to know more though, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a complete beginner, have got to grips with some of the common species but are struggling to make any more progress, or are an experienced and knowledgeable bryologist – there is always something more to learn.

If you’ve never looked at a moss or a liverwort in detail, and don’t know the first thing about them, read About bryophytes to get an idea of what makes up a bryophyte and the huge variety of mosses and liverworts that live in the British Isles – even in the middle of big cities.

Then check out our Getting started page to find out what you need to start studying bryophytes, and how you can get help. You will find pictures and identification tips for some of the commonest bryophytes you might find near you on the Some common bryophytes page.

Once you get the bug (and we hope you do) you will soon come to the conclusion that you need to invest in a microscope – or two – in order to advance beyond the distinctive species that can be recognized in the field. Don’t be put off! Again, the Getting started page has some tips.

Many people find that – with a little effort – they soon start to recognize some of the most common and distinctive species. But it is a difficult and frustrating path to get to the next level – especially as many bryologists take a break over the summer because bryophytes in drier areas of the country are just too crispy, and field meetings tend to run only during the cooler, wetter months. You might find the Species finder useful, with lots of ID hints and images for each species and a helpful section on similar species.

Even experts might find some new tips to try on our Tips & Techniques page – and remember, please share any ideas of your own by emailing the website editor at webmaster@britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk.