RESOURCES: Of Moss and Men

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Science  13 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5660, pp. 935
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5660.935a

Despite lacking seeds, flowers, and a vascular system, the plants known as bryophytes are stalwart pioneers, first settling on land more than 400 million years ago. This pair of sites can help newbies and experts get better acquainted with this ancient group, which includes hornworts, liverworts, and mosses.

Packed with information for taxonomists is this bryology page from the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The index of mosses describes nomenclature, distribution, and classification. To find out the difference between a sulcus (a groove on the plant) and a surculus (an upright shoot), try the glossary of more than 1100 bryophyte terms. The site also includes checklists of mosses for the world and for particular locales such as Thailand and China.

The gallery of photos on this site from botanist Paul Davison of the University of North Alabama in Florence captures a variety of bryophytes and highlights key anatomical features, such as the budlike gemmae that develop into new plants.

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