Sunday, March 10, 2013

a march day interlude

it's a beautiful sunny day today so i went for a little hike and during that hike i  was looking at the mosses on tree trunks as there's still so much snow on the ground.
i was thinking about ulota crispa and orthotrichum and how, when i first started mosses, i didn't know the difference between the two.
so i got out my camera and tried to get some shots from far away to close up of the two.
both were growing on the same big maple tree in my yard.

on a dry day, they are very easy to tell apart!
ulota crispa (like its name) has very 'crisped' and curly leaves when it's dry.
orthotrichum, on the other hand, has leaves that are straight and hug the stem.

so, on your next hike in the woods or on trees in your yard, see if you can find both species!


  1. Will it works with the other species of Ulota? They have curly leaves too? Thanks!

  2. the only other species of Ulota that we have on trees in my area (and which is much less common) is Ulota coarctata. it also has curly leaves. if we were talking about species growing on rocks, then there definitely could be some confusion between Ulota hutchinsiae and Orthotrichum anomalum...both of these species have non-curly leaves. Orthotrichum anomalum grows on calcareous substrates (you can often find it on gravestones or cement if you don't have access to limy rocks), whereas Ulota hutchinsiae prefers acidic rocks. i have, however, found both species together on the same ledge. There are other features to tell the 2 species apart, if you are unsure of the substrate.

  3. I hope your book will be released soon!!! And I'm still waiting for a new post!

  4. I love these comparisons. They are very helpful. I hope your book (if you are still planning to do it) will include things like this.