Diversity of Mosses in California Fens
Since fens are a type of wetland, they support many species of mosses. In California, approximately 80 common and rare species of mosses and liverworts are known to occur in fens. The diversity of the mosses and liverworts in California fens are comparable to other Northern Hemisphere peatland complexes in central Sweden and northern Ontario (Wishner, 2011).
California has one of the most species rich moss floras in North America (Malcolm, et al, 2009). Mosses and liverworts began to be examined more widely in these ecosystems when fens were highlighted in the 2001 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment that required inventories of fens and bogs.
Special issues of Madroño (a journal published by the California Botanical Society) have been published regarding mosses and liverworts in California:
- Contributions toward a Bryoflora of California: I. A Specimen-based Catalogue of Mosses. Daniel H. Norris and James R. Shevock. Madroño 51(1): 1-131. 2004.
- Contributions toward a Bryoflora of California: II. A Key to the Mosses. Daniel H. Norris and James R. Shevock. Madroño 51(2): 133-269. 2004.
- Contributions toward a Bryoflora of California: III. Keys and Annotated Species Catalogue for Liverworts and Hornworts. William T. Doyle and Raymond E. Stotler. Madroño 53(2): 89-197. 2006.
- Contributions toward a Bryoflora of California: IV. A Moss Flora of Lake County, A Checklist of the Bryophytes of the Channel Islands, and A Catalogue of the Mosses of the Plumas National Forest. David R. Toren, Ben Carter and Colin Dillingham. Madroño 62(4). 2015.
In 2009, Bill and Nancy Malcolm, Jim Shevock, and Dan Norris published California Mosses. This guide to the California mosses is organized by leaf shape and diagnostic tracts so species are identified by pictures. In 2013, this became available as California Moss eFlora edited by Paul Wilson (see California Moss eFlora online).
Enjoy the diversity of mosses in the fens in the mountains of California in this photo gallery.