I took this photo 2-3 years ago and thought until this week it was moss.
This enchanting specimen is commonly known as Pixie Cups, for the tiny cups of course. It grows through out the US and Canada and supposedly if you walk in the woods and train your eyes on rotting logs and tree stumps you’ll find it there. It’s scientific name is Cladonia which applies to a whole family of cup shaped lichens. My first lichen ID!
I found this super bright green neon moss in my neighbor’s front yard. I’ve gone by many a time to check on it and it’s been this color for a few weeks. It’s brightness peaked my curiosity about what kind of moss it is. (There about 8-9,000 kinds of moss worldwide.) In four or more years of taking moss photos, this is the first time I’ve thought about what kind of moss I was looking at.
I’ve done a touch of research and don’t have much idea yet about what kind of moss it is. First I went through the book I have on Mosses, Lichens and Ferns of Northwest North America. I found a west coast moss called Isopterygium elegans that was described as “bright, shiny yellow-green”. However, when I compared the sample to the photo in the book, they looked nothing alike.
I also compared my sample to the very very small # of other moss samples I’ve collected — just 2. Actually, this moss looks just like the moss I’m photographing in cracks in the sidewalk of my Albany, CA neighborhood. Seems likely it’s common to this area and what I’ve liked about the sidewalk moss is how bright even a tiny little strip of it in a crack or crevice it can be after a rain.
Next stop is the botanical garden in Tilden. I want to find out if the mosses I’ve been photographing there are “special specimens.” Are they mosses that have been collected and brought there or did they just happen to grow there? Fine either way, but I want to try to ID them and see if they match or differ from the mosses in my neighborhood.
One more thing — I found this one moss in the book called Bryum argenteum that is small, compact and silver green. It occurs throughout North America and is often found in “cracks of pavements, yards, roofs and building crevices.” Maybe this will be the first moss I learn to ID.