Liverworts and Mosses

Liverworts and Mosses Checklist


This list has been compiled by Charles Bird and Sandra Davis with help from members of the Alberta Bryophyte and Lichen Interest Group (ABLIG) and Derek Johnson. Please notify either compiler if you come across an additional species. Back up your observation with a specimen if possible. A photograph may also help but the distinguishing features of most species are so small that they cannot be seen in an image.

Liverworts and Mosses belong to the plant Phylum Bryophyta. In this Phylum, photosynthesis occurs and vascular tissue is lacking, i.e. there are no true roots, stems and leaves; when “leaves” are present, they are simple, i.e. usually only a single layer of cells.

In Liverworts (Hepaticae), the green “plant” is either thalloid or “leafy”; if “leafy”, the leaves are often lobed and three ranked; the sporophyte is usually short-lived; and lastly, the protonemata are single-celled.

In Mosses (Musci), the plants are not thalloid, the sporophytes are long-lived, the leaves are not lobed and not arranged in three ranks, and the protonemata are multi-celled; also, most species have erect gametophytes.

Very few common names are used for these plants, hence their scientific names are given below.

With practice, many species can be recognized by sight or with a hand lens while a compound microscope is required to be sure of the determination of the others.

A number of additional species were found by Kevin Timoney and Anne Robinson in 2009 when they carried out a rare plant survey along the area of the proposed expansion of the road on the eastern margin of the property. These species are indicated with a (+).



Conocephalum conicum (Snakeskin Liverwort)

Marchantia polymorpha

Thalloid Liverwort



Lepidozia reptans

Lophocolea heterophylla

Lophocolea minor

+Lophozia ventricosa

Ptilidium pulcherrimum



Abietinella abietina

Amblystegium serpens

Aulacomnium palustre

+Barbula acuta

Brachythecium campestre

Brachythecium erythrorrhizon

Brachythecium salebrosum

+Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum

Calliergon cordifolium

Campylium chrysophyllum

+Campylium hispidulum

+Campylium stellatum

Ceratodon purpureus (Fire Moss)

Climacium dendroides (Tree Moss)

Dicranum brevifolium

Dicranum fragilifolium

Dicranum fuscescens

Dicranum undulatum

Drepanocladus aduncus

+Encalypta sp. (Candle-snuffer Moss)

Eurhynchium pulchellum

Funaria hygrometrica (Cord Moss)

Hylocomium splendens (Stair-step Feathermoss)

+Hypnum lindbergii

Hypnum pallescens

Hypnum revolutum

+Leptobryum pyriforme

Leptodictyum riparium

+Mnium spinulosum

Orthotrichum obtusifolium

Orthotrichum speciosum

Plagiomnium cuspidatum

Plagiomnium ellipticum

Plagiomnium medium

Plagiothecium denticulatum

+Platydictya jungermannioides

Pleurozium schreberi  (Redstem Feathermoss)

Pohlia nutans

Polytrichum commune (Common Haircap Moss)

Polytrichum juniperinum (Juniper Haircap Moss)

Ptilium crista-castrensis (Plume Feathermoss)

Pylaisiella polyantha (Aspen Stocking Moss)

Sanionia uncinata (Drepanocladus uncinatus)

Syntrichia ruralis (Tortula ruralis)

Tetraphis pellucida (Four-toothed Moss)

Thuidium recognitum

Timmia megapolitana

+Tomenthypnum nitens

+Tortula mucronifolia