Mosses and liverworts known as bryophytes are a group of about 24,000 fairly low-growing plants which have no roots to speak of. Nor do they have flowers, but breed instead by spores. Both are commonly found in damp places, like ditches and beside streams.
This authoritative guide explains their ecological importance, how they can act as environmental indicators and their general biology. With full-colour illustrations throughout, it covers:
- distribution patterns and dispersal mechanisms
- their relation with climate
- historical uses for mosses
- habitats and emmunities
This is a branch of botany which has always relied heavily on amateur involvement, and the authors explain what amateurs can do today to increase our knowledge about these essential plants.
Ron Porley works for English Nature as a botanist and is chief adviser on bryophytes. Prior to that, he worked for the Nature Conservancy Council and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Nick Hodgetts worked as a botanist with governmental and non-governmental conservation organisations until 2001, when he became a free-lance botanist and bryologist. Also involved with the BBS and ECCB, he is co-author of the British and European bryophyte Red Data Books.