A Closer Look

Yesterday was another really nice day in the field. This time I went with Jeanne, who is collecting mosses and liverworts for a researcher. So as you can imagine we saw a lot of green beautiful mosses and liverworts.

Jeanne let me borrow a couple of the specimens before she sends them on. This moss was one of them. I think it was Orthotrichum species.
Here was my at home photo.
Such cute little rascals!
Now you can probably tell that we had our noses to the ground checking out these small guys. πŸ˜‰

This one’s sporophyte still had its cap on. 10X

An in-the-field photo of a leafy liverwort. The flowery things in the photo were new to me. However not to Jeanne. I love learning new stuff don’t you? And this was why I wanted to get a closer look under the microscope.
At home photo. And next the microscope photos.
This capsule had already burst making it look like a very tiny flower. However it had just open to release its spores!
Did you notice the little globose things in some of the photos. Well, when I first saw it I had wondered if it was insect egg. Nope twas’nt. It was the leafy liverwort sporophyte! I did however see a bug cross quickly under the view of microscope. πŸ˜‰

Squishing it down under a cover slip, it split open to release the spores!

Spores measured just under 30 microns!
In one of the above photos you may have notice what looked like hairs on the wide open capsule (sporangium). Here’s a closer look.
These curly “hairs” are called elaters. These elongated cells uncoil rapidly when the capsules open and help the spores spring out to spread. Very clever, eh!

Indeed, it was a fun afternoon getting a closer look!

Zodiacal light best in dark skies around the March equinox

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. I’m always amazed at the tiny things i don’t see and you do and then how they look up close. I love seeing them thru your eyes. Thanks

  2. The elaters are so cool – like miniature springs.
    I may have to stay up late one night to see zodiacal lights – had never heard of them. Hope it’s a dark enough sky here to see it.

    1. I sorta think I have seen it but thought it was something human made. And I could see the Milkway (faintly) one night while out at Cottonwood Lake looking for bats. So I bet you can see it too.

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