World of Mosses website

A Graphic Guide to Ontario Mosses

by Robert Muma




The best way to identify and know the mosses is to collect a sample of each kind you find.  Plastic sandwich bags are an ideal way to carry them from the field.  Be sure to remove them as soon as possible when you get home, or keep them in a cool place.  Remember, mosses contain a lot of moisture and will sweat and mildew if left for too long in a warm place in an airtight container.

The simplest way of storing specimens is in paper envelopes made from plain or scrap paper and folded as shown below.  Either letter size or half is suitable.  Be sure to write details of geographic location, habitat, date, and name when you have determined it, on the outside.  Store these packets in a shoe box or similar container.  These dried specimens can be quickly "revived" for study at any time by immersing a sample in water.

Select a suitable specimen of each species to press lightly (they dry very quickly) and paste in a notebook with the name for future reference.  This saves the bother of opening up envelopes for comparing specimens.

For identification purposes, you will need a good 10-power hand lens.  If you have access to a binocular dissecting microscope, so much the better; and a compound microscope may be necessary for observing the finer distinctions between some species.


Collecting Mosses


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