Shy moss

Mosses are one of the most basal lineages of plants. They generally grow where there's a lot of moisture for at least part of the year, because their reproduction requires it -- the sperm have to swim through a layer of water. Luckily for moss lovers, everywhere in Seattle is damp in the winter -- this was taken on highly exposed concrete outside the Biology Greenhouse.

Our amazing Culture Curator, Ellie Duffield, thinks the central moss with the bent capsules is probably a Grimmia because of the silvery tips on its leaves. These mosses are xerophytic, often drying out completely during part of the year and bouncing back to greenness when conditions are right again.

Ellie also notes that she has found tardigrades in this moss. Clearly they'd be the perfect xerophyte buddies, since they have a similar anhydrobiosis trick. -- KMP


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