I make a lot of observations of mosses, but I don't know much yet about identifying them. A lot of these I just ID as "Mosses" because I don't want to make too many false IDs. The problem with that is that many of these stay unidentified (, and most of the ones that I have identified to species are just guesses. I would highly appreciate any help in identifying my moss observations (, and especially those that are still only identified to phylum (
Many thanks in advance,

Posted on 04 February, 2019 09:32 by alexis_orion alexis_orion


Feel free to tag me in any of your observations. I curate the UK, Irish and South African species but will probably know most of those you see in Germany.

Posted by georgeg over 5 years ago

you can also just go through all of my "needs ID" moss observations here: which would save me having to comment on each observation.

Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

Thanks, I clearly don't know this site well enough. Will check them out soon.

Posted by georgeg over 5 years ago

Unfortunately I'm only a top moss identifier because I frequently "identify" "unknown" species as "Bryopsida". I can't confidently ID any species, though I do sometimes get the right genus or family.

Posted by srall over 5 years ago

Ok , Thanks!

Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

I looked through them but couldn't ID most of them. This is partly because I don't know most of the species, but also because IDing moss from photos is difficult. If you take closer, more magnified photos that would help. If you use a SLR camera mounting your lense backwards is a good way to do this. I like it more than using extension tubes. If you use a cellphone camera there are cheap clipon macro lenses you can get. If you really want to ID all your mosses then you will need to use a microscope. But still make sure to take a more zoomed out photo like you have been doing so you can see the shape of the moss clumps and what they are growing on.

Also look around to see if any of the clumps of moss have spore capsules or asexual propagules ( These come in various forms, ex: the little brown balls in or the yellow things on the leaves in or the little things that look like yellow-green spheres coming out from where the leaves connect to the stems in ) If you find any, photograph those instead or in addition to the ones without.

For some mosses it is very helpful to have photos of what they look like when both wet and dry, so try dumping some water on them. As a bonus, it's fun to watch them transform when they get wet.

Finally, try digging up a single shoot of moss and photograph it all by itself on its side, including the base where it has the root-like things coming out of it.

Posted by zookanthos over 5 years ago

Thanks for all the tips!
I will try to take more detailed close-ups of mosses when I can. I am currently saving up for a much better macro filter than the ones I have right now, so hopefully I will be able to do so better in the future.

Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

many of the not-so-good photos are from before I had a decent camera, or much experience :)

Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

Yes, as @zookanthos mentioned, most mosses cannot be IDd from photographs. Your experience is not unique, most moss photos on inat will never make it to species level. just goes with the territory of photographing mosses. But dont let that stop you from adding photos of mosses, some can be IDd to species. Good luck!

Posted by leannewallis over 5 years ago


Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

Thanks for all the IDs @georgeg !

Posted by alexis_orion over 5 years ago

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