Fiery Moss

This is a photograph of the same moss I featured during December in ‘Natural Companions‘.

A couple of days ago I walked across the same bridge where I first discovered the moss and noticed how the low sun was catching these new ‘shoots’ making them look like little flames. The moss is called ‘Wall screw moss’ or Tortula muralis.

I’ve yet to find an easy to understand description of the various parts of moss and what these ‘shoots’ do but I’ll report back when I do!

Late edit: Please see Sarah’s comments below for a wonderful explanation of what’s happening with the moss.

Even later edit:Β  JM Chipeco has written a poem to accompany this image. You can find it at her site: Flaming Felicity

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50 thoughts on “Fiery Moss

  1. Gorgeous!

    I am by no means an expert but I studied simplified life cycles of moss a couple times in college (and have forgotten most of it, naturally). But if I remember correctly, mosses go through something called alternation of generations. Most of the time you see moss, it has a low-growing, carpety appearance; at this stage it’s known as the gametophyte generation. This structure contains the moss’ sex organs, antheridia and archegonia (male and female). After fertilization occurs, a new stalk-like structures arises from the moss, the sporophyte generation, which is what you see in your picture. The capsules at the top contain spores which disperse, germinate, and give rise to the new gametophyte generation. Then it starts all over again.

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    • Wow – thanks so much Sarah! I really appreciate your wonderful and excellent explanation! Last night, I read as far as ‘sporophyte’ and decided to return to it another time πŸ™‚

      They are such interesting organisms aren’t they? You’ve encouraged me to find out more. Many thanks for your visit and very helpful comments!

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    • Thank you Planaquarium and thanks so much for the nomination – I very much appreciate it. I’m a great fan of your blog too – such beautiful poetry (something I could never do and something I admire so much) and wonderful images.

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  2. When my son was about 3, we walked through the woods near our cottage. He turned to me and asked “why did God put carpeting down in the woods?”

    That’s the moss I’m used to – blankets of soft green. This is really amazing. I’ve never seen moss with “flames”.

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    • In some respects, it seems so unreal doesn’t it? I couldn’t believe it and actually exclaimed out loud when I saw it! I’ll try and get some more images when I next walk there – some more detailed close-ups. Thank you Paula.

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  3. There is something really neat about this shot, but I can’t say what it is exactly. This template really shows your photos off, though, that is for sure.

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    • Thank you Sandy! I often feel like that about my photos. There’s something intangible which grabs! The theme is a very good photograph one. I have sometimes thought about a change but still prefer this one.

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