Mosses of Manhattan

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We don't think of Manhattan, NYC, NY, USA as being a particularly "mossy" place, not like overgrown shady ravines in the upstate New York wilderness areas, but when you start paying attention, you discover that mosses are all around us almost everywhere here in the heart of the city: sidewalks, planters, waste ground, edges of paths , etc.

I know nothing about mosses, but I figure that my part of Manhattan must be home to only a limited number of moss species because of the air pollution and lack of fully wild habitat, despite Central Park's extensive "imitation wilderness". So I am guessing there might perhaps be 60 species in Manhattan. I suppose Inwood Park is the closest thing Manhattan has to real wilderness, as it is huge with varied habitat and there is some original forest there, but I have yet to make my way to Inwood. When things normalize I will head up there.

I am working with my iPhone, and the camera is not good at macro/micro pics because there is not enough resolution. However, I am certain there are a number of local mosses that I can learn to ID using the features that are visible to my naked eye, a hand lens, and my somewhat inadequate camera.

I already think I know a small handful of my local moss species, some only to genus. But I could be wrong on some of them -- a little knowledge is dangerous in that way!

One local moss that I have been confident about for a couple of years is Silvery Bryum. Anyone can learn to recognize that moss, even with one hand tied behind their backs.

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Here are a few of my few mosses so far:

Silvery Bryum – Bryum argenteum

Seductive Entodon Moss – Entodon seductrix – I may have wrongly ID'ed some of these.

Woody Thyme Moss – Plagiomnium cuspidatum – this could be another species in that genus?

Bristle Mosses, Orthotrichum, I am pretty sure the genus is OK but I am also guessing I have in particular O. stellatum, the Starry Bristle Moss, which may be incorrect, but whatever it is I always find it growing in the crevices of the bark of mature Callery Pear street trees.

Wall Screw-Moss – Tortula muralis

Redshank – Ceratodon purpureus

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And with some ID help from a professional moss person, I may also have found:

Common Bladder Moss – Physcomitrium pyriforme

Bonfire Moss – Funaria hygrometrica

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The AI/Computer vision has recently started offering guesses on moss IDs. There are many of them, most of which are probably way off, but here is one suggestion:

Bird's Claw Beard Moss – Barbula unguiculata

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Posted by susanhewitt susanhewitt, May 01, 2020 13:09

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 29, 2020 02:57 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

True Mosses Class Bryopsida

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 29, 2020 02:58 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

True Mosses Class Bryopsida

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 29, 2020 02:58 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Woodsy Thyme-Moss Plagiomnium cuspidatum

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 29, 2020 02:59 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

True Mosses Class Bryopsida

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 29, 2020 03:24 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

True Mosses Class Bryopsida

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 30, 2020 10:48 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Starry Bristle Moss Orthotrichum stellatum

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 30, 2020 10:49 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Bonfire Moss Funaria hygrometrica

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 30, 2020 02:45 PM EDT

Description

???

Photos / Sounds

What

Redshank Ceratodon purpureus

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 30, 2020 02:46 PM EDT

Description

???

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

True Mosses Class Bryopsida

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 30, 2020 02:46 PM EDT

Comments

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When observing a moss, what should one look for?

Posted by irag 2 months ago (Flag)
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Good question! It is probably better to ask me that when I know a lot more than I do now, but if the moss is fruiting, definitely photograph those parts well. Also pull out one strand and find out if it is branching or just one spike. Then also you need to look very closely at the leaf shape, which means having a hand lens at least.

Posted by susanhewitt 2 months ago (Flag)
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Oh and one very important thing to know in advance is that many mosses look completely different when they are wet after rain, compared with how they look when they have dried out.

Posted by susanhewitt 2 months ago (Flag)
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Those are good things to know. Thanks.

Posted by irag 2 months ago (Flag)
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It seems that if you want to get serious about mosses you have to take a piece home, use a microscope, carefully pull it apart and put the leaf and part of the capsule under the microscope.

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 months ago (Flag)
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That's a good plan.
The Riverside Drive park wall has much moss growing on it.
I also have a terrarium here full of various mosses that I can experiment on .

I also have a microscope and I have access to BioBus stereoscopic microscopes with built in USB microscopes.

Posted by irag about 2 months ago (Flag)

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