Mosses are among the most ancient plants on earth, and their peculiar biology shows it. The lovely leafy green plant that all of us are familiar with? It has just half the normal number of chromosomes, like an egg or sperm!
Taking “forest baths” and recording your observations can be wonderful therapy for modern times. Here are some tips from acclaimed natural history writer Bernd Heinrich for keeping your own nature journal.
Have you ever taken a close look at mosses? They’re simply elegant, and you can find them almost anywhere. They’re not that hard to tell apart especially with Ralph Pope’s moss field guide, so why not get to know them?
If you took all the moose or deer in a northeastern forest and put them on a scale, they wouldn’t weigh as much as the superabundant but often overlooked red-backed salamander. (Hard to believe, I know, but check out the study “Salamander Populations and Biomass in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire” published in the scientific journal Copeia in 1975!)
Fungi use mushrooms to disperse their offspring, much like plants use fruits. The spores of fungi can be spread by wind, by animals, or by a combination. The oddest fungi are stinkhorns, which do it by smelling like rotting meat, attracting flies to transport their spores.