Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are found throughout the world in a variety of habitats. They flourish particularly well in moist, humid forests, filling many ecological roles. They provide seedbeds for the larger plants of the community and homes to countless arthropods, they capture and recycle nutrients that are washed with rainwater from the canopy, and they bind the soil to keep it from eroding.
This photo-based field guide to the more common or distinctive bryophytes of northeastern North America gives beginners the tools they need to identify most specimens without using a compound microscope. Ralph Pope's inviting text and helpful photographs cover not only the "true" mosses but also the Sphagnaceae (the peat mosses), liverworts, and hornworts.