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Lyell's Bristle Moss

Orthotrichum lyellii


epyphitic; acrocarpous. Leaves unicostate; accuminate 2-6 mm long. Cells papillose, bluntly rectangular throughout except for the immediate alar region; margin entire. Plant mostly unbranched or irregularly branched. Sporophytes emerging on a short seta lower than the apex of the plant.


This individual was found on the trunk of a red alder, but can also be found on any deciduous. Common throughout western Washington.

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MilesBerkey 7 years ago

Usually with cross-sections of stems, leaves, roots, branches etc, you are looking at tissues layers of cells which are difficult to see if the cross section is not thin enough. I'd imagine with a pocket knife or utility knife it would be hard to get a really thin cross-section. To get an accurate and clear cross-section you want it to be no more than 1 cell thick which is a difficult task. I use a surgical razor under my dissecting scope usually at 40X magnification.

Hema 7 years ago

For"normal" leaves,like pine needles,you could just prepare cross sections with a sharp knife?

MilesBerkey 7 years ago

Thanks Jemma! To prepare the slides I'll just pull off the leaf (or any desired portion of the plant) using micro botany tools and dissecting scope. Then i'll place the plant fragment on a slide and put it under my compound light microscope. To accurately ID bryophytes you need both microscopes and the right tools and the appropriate dichotomous key for your area, which can be hard to find sometimes. For the sphagnum mosses I usually have to use stain (blue watercolor, food dyes) because they can be slightly "ethereal."

Hema 7 years ago

awesome to see them under the microscope too! ow do you make the slides? Do you use a stain?

Spotted by

Washington, USA

Spotted on Dec 24, 2013
Submitted on Dec 26, 2013

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