Mosses & Liverworts


    Mosses, liverworts and hornworts are small plants, commonly known as bryophytes. Though small, they are a fascinating and rewarding group for anyone wanting to learn more about them. As early colonisers they can be found in virtually all terrestrial habitats. Bare soil, wall tops, tarmac - indeed just about every crevice supports one or more species. As well as being all around us, they are a good option to study in January and February when most other plants and invertebrates are absent.

    Leicestershire and Rutland Resources

    The Leicestershire branch of the BSBI run regular field trips, including bryophyte meetings in the winter.

    A bryological tour through Leicestershire & Rutland - Dennis Ballard highlights some of the best sites for mosses and liverwort and gives a brief list some interesting species seen there.

    Other Useful Websites and Publications

    internet books
    Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: A Field Guide (mentioned in the books column opposite) is also available in a free-to-access on-line version (follow the Resources menu link). Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: A Field Guide is possibly the book we've all been waiting for - an accessible guide for non-specialists.
    British Bryological Society - national body supporting the study of mosses and liverworts.  
    Mosses and liverworts of towns and gardens - a free, useful and simple guide to the more common species.  

    If you know of other websites or books that you would recommend, do let us know:

    Recording Schemes

    The VC55 County Recorder for bryophytes is Uta Hamzaoui.

    As with all records, any submissions you make to NatureSpot will be automatically forwarded to both local and national recording schemes.


    The most essential item of equipment is a hand-lens. These can be purchased very cheaply on eBay. Look for a model with a glass and not a plastic lens, x20 magnification. A binocular microscope is also useful but not essential for most species. The free online guides mentioned above offer a great way to get started.