William Jackson Hooker.

Muscologia britannica: containing the mosses of Great Britain and Ireland systematically arranged and described with plates illustrative of the characters of the genera and species online

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MUSCOLOGIA BRITANNICA;

\

CONTAINING

THE MOSSES

OF

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND,

SYSTEMATICALLY ARRANGED AND DESCRIBED ;

WITH

PLATES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE CHARACTERS

OF THE

GENERA AND SPECIES ;

BY

WILLIAM JACKSON HOOKER, LL.D.,F.R.A.,&L.S.

AND REGIUS PROFESSOR OF BOTANY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW,

AND

THOMAS TAYLOR, M. D., M. R. I. A., & F. L. S.

FELLOW OF THE KING AND QUEEN*S COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF IRELAND, AND
PROFESSOR OF NATURAL HISTORY IN THE ROYAL INSTITUTION OF CORK.

Sjwontr iSfcition, Corrected anti ISnlavgefc.
LONDON:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, & GREEN;
PATERNOSTER-ROW.

1827.



Univ. Library, UC Santa Cruz 1994




Glasgow University Press.



TO

THE REV. JAMES DALTON, A. M.

RECTOR OF CROFT IN YORKSHIRE,
ETC. ETC.

THE MUSCOLOGIA BRITANNICA

IS DEDICATED,
IN TESTIMONY OF

THEIR MOST GRATEFUL AND AFFECTIONATE REGARD

AND ESTEEM,

BY

THE AUTHORS.



H7



INTRODUCTION

TO THE SECOND EDITION.



To render the Mosses of the British Islands generally known,
to give to other Naturalists an opportunity of profiting by those
researches, upon which we have ourselves bestowed much time
and patience ; to fix, if possible, this department of our Botany
upon a firmer basis ; and, by facilitating the investigation of one
of the most beautiful parts of the Creation, to place in a clearer
light the wonders of the Divine hand ; such are the motives that
we set before us in the undertaking of this work, and such the
objects which we flatter ourselves we shall be found, in some
measure, to have attained. At the same time, however, that we
trust we may be allowed to indulge this hope, we are sensible
that it can only be entertained to a very limited degree.
Much may, notwithstanding, still be done, though all cannot be
accomplished ; and, to us, the very study requisite for effecting
it, proves, in itself, a pleasure that repays the toil.

To revert more immediately to the object before us, the
Muscologia is a subject comparatively new, scarcely 40 years
having elapsed since the publication of Hedwig's Theory, a
work which first diffused over the science that light by whose aid
all subsequent progress in its advancement has been made. The
successive labours of this eminent Naturalist contributed to erect
a system upon firm and philosophic grounds. He has been ably
seconded by more recent authors, especially by Swartz and Mohr,

a3
i



vl INTRODUCTION.

and his own pupil Schwaegrichen ; but, perhaps, hy none so
effectually as Bridel, whose works upon the Mosses, though full
of the strangest errors as to species and synonyms, contain a
history of the science, and a review of whatever is connected with
it, at once admirable and unrivalled. To him, therefore, we refer
our readers for information on this head, and also to the excellent
treatise, " Zur Charakteristik der Ordnung der Laubmoose"
which constitutes the introductory part of the Bryologia Ger-
manica of Nees Von Esenbeck and Hornschuch. The Memoirs,
too, of our countryman Mr. Brown, in the Transactions of the
Linnsean Society, and those of Dr. Greville and Mr. Arnott in
the Transactions of the Wernerian Society, accompanied with a
great number of beautiful figures, may be consulted with great
advantage. The line which we have drawn out for ourselves in
the present undertaking, precludes us from entering upon this
subject in the manner we could wish ; our intention in this preface
being little more than briefly to state what may be expected in its
pages.

No country, perhaps, of similar extent, is more favourable to
the growth of Mosses than the British isles, where there is so
great a variety of soil, and no inconsiderable difference in the
climate, between the plains and the summits of our highest hills.
Our woods, morasses, rocks, and shaded banks, afford nourish-
ment to a variety of species ; and our mountains, though of in-
considerable elevation when compared with the Alps of Switzer-
land and Savoy, of Germany and the Pyrenees, yet on account of
their more northern latitude, and of their rising nearly to the
limits of perpetual snow, produce most of the Mosses of those
highly favoured regions. In so few parts of Europe has the
Muscology of the country been fully investigated, that we
scarcely feel ourselves competent to draw a comparison between
this department of the Flora of any district and our own ; and
the attempt we made to do so, in the preface to our first edition



INTRODUCTION. vii

of this work, by mentioning those Mosses of Germany, of France,
and of Lapland, which Britain was supposed not to possess, has
now been proved incorrect, by the subsequent discovery of several
of those very species ; whilst, on the other hand, some species
which we then considered peculiar to our islands, have recently
been detected on the Continent by the industry of the students of
Muscology.

In France, including the vast extent of the Alps and Pyrenees,
Professor De Candolle has enumerated 227 species; but this
number must be far short of the truth ; for we know that our
friends, Mr. Arnott and Mr. Bentham, are in themselves able to
add considerably to this list. Germany, according to Mohr, reckons
rather more than 280 species; but to what extent Nees and
Hornschuch will increase the catalogue, we are unable to say,
since only a small portion of their valuable work has yet appeared ;
including merely their genera, Sphagnum, Phascum, Vbitia,
Pyramidula^ Schistidium, Schistostega, Gymnostomum, and Hy-
menostomum ; or, in other words, those genera which are desti-
tute of a true peristome to the capsule. These alone amount to
68; while the same division in Mohr, contains just half that
number ; so that another difficulty exists in estimating the com-
parative proportion of Mosses in different countries, even where
they have been best explored ; namely, the various opinions of
Botanists as to what are species, and what varieties, of these
plants; for every one is at liberty to exercise his own judgment
upon such points. Lapland, according to Wahlenberg's statement,
has 160 species; and Sweden, according to the same author, 226.
These are all the European countries of which any attempt has
been made at forming a Muscologia, and it must be remembered,
that all these writers, not even excepting Mohr, who has greatly
reduced the number of species made by preceding Botanists,
describe, as distinct individuals, many plants which we look upon
only as varieties.



viii INTRODUCTION.

The number of Mosses, included in the present work, is 290 ;
and of these the most remarkable kinds, which, we believe, have
not yet been found upon the Continent of Europe, are Gymno-
stomum viridissimum, Griffithiamim and Donianum, Grimmia
leucophcea and unicolor, Weissia Templetoni (?J, Trichostomum
ellipticum, Glyphomitrion Daviesii, Didymodon nervosum and
jftexifolium, Orthotrichum Drummondii, Daltonia splacknoides,
Bartramia arcuata and Hookeria Icete-virens.

On the other hand, the most striking species contained in the
Floras of Continental writers, and which Great Britain cannot
yet boast of possessing, are, Voitia nivalis, Pyramidula tetragona,
Anictangium aquaticum and pulvinatum, Grimmia plagiopodia,
Didymodon pallidum, Splachnum rubrum and luteum, Systytium
splachnoides, Tayloria splachnoides, Dicranum ambiguum, Schra-
deri and cylindricum, Polytrichum capillare and Icevigatum,
Fontinalis falcata, Neckera cladorhizans, Cinclidium stygium,
Mnium turgidum, and Bryum squarrosum.

From the above remarks it will be judged, as we might ex-
pect from the vicinity of the two countries, that the Muscologia
of Britain is very similar to that of the central and Northern
Continent of Europe. It will excite more surprise to find that
the distant Continent of North America, especially in the cor-
responding parallels of latitude, presents a Muscologia even more
similar to ours than that of Europe. Mr. Seoul er has brought
from the opposite side of the New World, from the Columbia
and Nootka, many Mosses, which prove to be the same as those
of our own country ; and those who will be at the trouble to turn
to the pages of the Botanical Appendix of Captain Franklin's
Journey to the Polar Sea, from lat, 54., will see at once how
analogous are the Mosses of that country to the British. The
indefatigable Botanists of the present, or second, overland
Expedition through the same regions, have already collected still
more important information on this head. Our invaluable friend,



INTRODUCTION.



XI



Dr. Richardson, in his last letter, written to us from Fort
Franklin, Great Bear Lake, says as follows :

" Drummond's Mosses will probably be the most complete
collection made in North America, and, I hope, will nearly equal
the British Muscologia in number of species. The following list
contains those not gathered in the former journey :-

Sphagnum latifolium.
Andrcea rupestris.
Phascum subulatum,

crispum, and 9

Diphyscium foliosum.
Gymnostomum pyriforme,

truncatulum ?

lapponicum,

rupestre.
Encalypta streptocarpa,

rhaptocarpa.
Weissia controversy

curvirostra.
Grimmia affinis.
Tortula subulata,

convoluta.
Trichostomum pallidum,

microcarpum.
JPterogonium, duce species.
Leucodon sciuroides, et altera sp.
Dicranum longifolium,

montanum 9

heteromallum,

rufescens, and nov. sp.
Didymodon trifarium,

glaucescens,

inclinatum.
Cynontodium flexicauk.
Orihotrichum clavellatum,

pumilum,

JLudwigii,

crispum 9
Bartramia fontana y

pomiformis,

crispa.
Funaria 9



Fontinalis capillacea, abundant and

in fruit.

Anarrhopterum heterostichum.
Anomodon viticulosum.
Bryum roseum,

argenteum,

punctatum,

cuspidatum, (the cuspidatum of
the former journey proves to be
B. affine)

marginatum,

turbinatum.
Leskece tres.
Hypnum triquetrum,

abietinltm, (in fruit both on

Lake Superior and on Great
Bear Lake)

dimorphum,

rutabulum,

cupressiforme,

illecebrum,

velutinum,

incurvatum,

prcefongum,

Halleri 9

aureum,

riparium,

alopecurum,

aduncum,

stellatum,

Silesianum,

pulchellum,

polymorphism,
julaceum,

palustre, et tria altera.



X



INTRODUCTION.



" The above list," he continues, " does not include the Mosses
gathered by Drummond, since we separated. Added to the
former collection, it raises the number of species which we know
to inhabit those countries, to upwards of 150, and I trust we
shall have detected nearly as many more by the time we meet."

In a work like the present, it will not be expected that we
should enter much on the subject of the structure of the Mosses,
or their modes of increase, or what have been considered by
most authors as the Organs of fructification. Indeed, it is our
opinion, even now, notwithstanding some lights that have been
thrown upon these subjects, particularly by the German physio-
logists, that too little is at present known on these heads to
enable us to speak satisfactorily. We have adopted, for the
most part, Hedwig's terminology; but we have, in general,
declined noticing the male flowers, as they are commonly called,
not only because we think their office, or use, is but imperfectly
known, but because their existence is often very difficult to be
discovered.

There are two distinct kinds of organs, supposed to be con-
nected with the fructification of Mosses, One gives origin to a
number of minute granules, which are, by Hedwig and most
Botanists, considered as real seeds, and hence called the Capsule ;
and the other, which is judged by analogy, and by no means from
the test of experiment, to be the Anther, or the organ producing
the fertilizing substance. Of these we now proceed to give a
short description ; and for the sake of clearness, rather than from
a conviction of the real nature of these parts, we shall call them
the male and female organs.

The Mosses bear these male and female flowers separate, either
arising from different points on the same individual, or having the
two sexes produced upon distinct plants. Each flower, whether
male or female, is surrounded by a number of small leaves, which
differ from those of the stem, and are called, when taken collec-



INTRODUCTION. x

tively, a perichcetium, or when each leaf is taken separately, a
perichatial leaf. These flowers spring either from the extremity
of the stem, as in most of the upright growing Mosses, or
laterally and from the axils of the leaves, as in most of the
creeping kinds.

Each male flower consists of an uncertain number of minute,
oblong bodies, of a reticulated texture, cylindrical, which are
considered to be the Anthers ; they are placed upon a short foot-
stalk, which may be termed the filament, and they are filled with
a pulpy, or somewhat granular pellucid substance, which, upon
placing the Anther in water, under a microscope, may be seen to
be discharged from the upper extremity. These Anthers empty
themselves spontaneously while attached to the plant, and remain
mere single-celled cases, or bags. This apparently pulpy sub-
stance is looked upon as the pollen, and is supposed, in a manner
not easily accounted for, to find its way to the pistils, however
distantly they may be situated.

The female flower consists, in like manner, of an uncertain
number of supposed pistils, of a linear, or oblong form, at the
base swelling, and constituting the Germen, which is gradually
lengthened out into what is called the Style ; and the termination,
which is not unfrequently dilated, or open at the mouth, is termed
the Stigma. Both the Anthers and pistils are generally mixed
with a considerable number of minute jointed filaments, whose use
is not known, but which are called by Hedwig "fila succulenta"
These constitute the whole of what are called the flowers.

There is something in the gradual enlargement of the base of
the pistil, or germen, which is very similar to the increase of the
pistil in phaenogomous plants ; but then it is followed by other
circumstances widely different. The base of one of the pistils
gradually swells more and more ; and, after a certain period, the
upper part of the style and stigma wither, but still remain. The
Germen is now seen, covered by a thin membrane ; which, as the



xii INTRODUCTION.

fructification advances, separates transversely at the bottom, and
rising up with the more advanced germen, takes the name of
Calyptra, or veil. It is carried up by means of a pedicel, or fruit-
stalk, which now develops itself, and reaches to a different height
in different species ; in some, being five or six inches in length.
When it lias attained its utmost development, the mature germen
becomes the perfect fruit, and is called the Capsule. The Calyp-
tra, with its acuminated persistent style, drops off spontaneously,
and exposes to view, on the top of the capsule, a lid, or opercu-
lum, which is variously shaped in different individuals, sometimes
being almost plane, sometimes conical, sometimes subulate. This,
in time, likewise, in almost every instance, falling away, exposes
the mouth of the capsule, which affords some of the most important
marks of distinction in the several genera of Mosses. In some, the
mouth is quite naked ; in others, it is furnished with a most beauti-
ful and curious apparatus of teeth-like processes, or sometimes
membranes, which some call a fringe, or peristome, and these are
variously cut at the extremity. These processes sometimes form
a single row about the mouth, and then it is called a "peristomium
simplex" or the row is double, whence the term "peristomium
duplex?

Externally, at the base of the capsule, there is frequently a
swelling of a different substance from the capsule itself; this is
called the apophysis.

The Capsule, when ripe, is more or less of a horny, or cartila-
ginous substance, extremely variable in form ; ovate, as in most
Mosses ; sphserical, as in some species of Phascum and Bartra-
mia ; quadrangular in some Polytricha ; pyriform, or pear-shaped
in Funaria ; oblique and gibbous beneath, and plane on the top,
in Buxbaumia. It is smooth in the generality of Mosses ;
striated, sulcated, or dotted in others. In the inside is a mem-
branous bag, (or inner membrane, as it is called;) from this rises
the inner fringe, when that is present ; and it is it which con-

7



INTRODUCTION. xiii

tains the mass of minute, generally sphserical granules, or seeds.
Through the centre of this capsule, however, passes a little
column, which is called a columella, and to which it appears that
the seeds may have been attached in a young state, or which
formed a part of that cellular substance which constituted the
whole of the interior of the capsule, and in the circumference of
which the seeds appear to have been imbedded.

Besides the structure of the fringe, or peristome, the situation
of the pedicel, orfruitstalk, whether lateral or terminal, is found
to be of great value in denning the genera. So also is the shape
of the Calyptra ; which is called dimidiate, when it is cleft on one
side, and mitriform, when it is entire at the base.

The number of teeth which compose the peristome of Mosses
is worthy of remark, being either 4, which is the smallest number,
or a multiplicate of 4. Tetraphis has only 4 teeth ; Octoblepha-
ris, a tropical genus, has 8 teeth; Grimmia, Dicranum, and
many others, have 16; Didymodon has often 32, and Polytrichum
sometimes 64 ; but no Moss is known with any intermediate
number. The office of these teeth seems to consist in aiding the
discharge of the seeds of the capsule at a proper season.

The seeds, or organs of reproduction, are a fine dust-like sub-
stance ; and require a dry atmosphere to accomplish their dis-
persion. Such is the hygrometric nature of the peristome^ that
when the weather is moist, it is entirely closed over the mouth
of the capsule, and the seeds are prevented from escaping ; in a
dry season, the teeth are spread out in a radiating manner, or are
reflexed : the seeds, by the shrinking of the sides of the capsule,
flow over the margin, and are scattered far and wide by the
winds.

With these seeds, or sporules, as they are called by many, Mr.
James Drummond, F. L. S. of Cork, occupied himself for a
series of years. He succeeded in raising more than 30 different
kinds of Mosses from seed ; and the result of his experiments he



xiv INTRODUCTION.

has given in a Memoir published in the 13th Volume of the
Transactions of the Linnsean Society, p. 24. He clearly proved
that those processes of the germinating seed which Hedwig
called Cotyledons, are hy no means analagous to those of phseno-
gamic plants.

" In Funaria hygrometrica" for example, he says, " these
processes, (and only one kind is produced,) made their appear-
ance on the second day after sowing, in the form of pellucid points,
evidently growing out of the substance of the seed. On the
fourth day, each minute plant had from one to three of these
appendages, each appendage growing out of a different part of the
brown covering of the seed, which sometimes appeared torn, as
described by Hedwig, from the bursting out of these filaments.
On the seventh day, they appeared, when magnified with the
highest power of a compound microscope, to be about two lines
in length, obtuse, jointed ; and when growing in water, having
some green coloured particles appearing within them, similar to
what we find deposited in the cells of the leaves, in a more
advanced state of the plant. But I observed that some of the
articulated filaments, in the pots of earth, penetrated the soil in
every direction, and formed the roots, those filaments only being
of a green colour which were growing on the surface. On the
tenth day, I found these filaments beginning to throw out
branches. In a fortnight, the surface of the pots appeared as if
covered with green velvet, from the numerous branched filaments
that clothed every part of the soil. About the end of the third
week, the true leaves of the Moss began to make their appearance,
shooting up amongst the green articulated filaments, and attached
to them in the same way as we see the serrated leaves and cap-
sules produced in Phascum serratum.

" That the reticulated filaments, supposed by Hedwig to be the
cotyledons of Mosses, are essentially different from the seed-
leaves of phaenogamous plants, will appear from the following

7



INTRODUCTION. xv

experiment : I removed a portion of the surface from the pots
in which I had Mosses growing from seeds, and I found, (pro-
vided I did not go deeper than the conferva-like substance had
penetrated,) that the green part of the conferva, and ultimately
the Moss itself, was reproduced. And I have since found, that
the small creeping roots of Polytrichum commune, and other
Mosses, when the soil in which they grow is exposed to the air,
throw out green articulated filaments, and produce young plants
in a much shorter time than what it takes to produce them from
seed. I find the time which Mosses remain in the conferva state,
before they produce their true leaves, to vary considerably in
different species, and even in the same species under different
circumstances. When regularly supplied with moisture, Funaria
hygrometrica, Gymnostomum pyriforme, Didymodon purpureum,
Bryum hornum, and some others, produce their true leaves in
about three weeks from the time of sowing ; Polytrichum undu-
latum requires two months ; and Polytrichum aloides sometimes
continues four months in the conferva state ; the last mentioned
in that state is the well known JByssus velutina, an excellent
drawing of which is given in Dillwyn's British Conferva, PI. 77.

" The duration of the green part of the conferva-like filaments
on the surface, after the Mosses produce their true leaves, depends
much on the soil and situation in which they grow ; in Phascum
serratum, and Polytrichum aloides, they are almost always present ;
and in some Mosses, supposed to be annual, I have found them
remain and throw up plants in succession for several years."

The seeds, or sporules of Mosses differ, in toto, from the seeds
of the more perfect orders of plants ; those, for example, of the
Monocotyledonous and Dicotyledonous plants. They have no
integument, no embryo, consequently no radicle and plumule.
The sporule is, in itself, an homogeneous substance, producing
indifferently from its surface, roots and stems. Indeed, Dr. Th.
Fr. Ludw. Nees Von Esenbeck, in a valuable paper " on the ger-



xvi INTRODUCTION.

mination of Mosses, from the Propagula" published in the 12th
Volume of the Acta Acad. Natures Curios, p. 169, has satisfac-
torily shown, that the lines of longitudinal cellules, of which the
stems and leaves are composed, are a continuation of the fibrous
radicles that constitute the roots. The greater are the number of
conferva-like shoots that unite, the thicker will be the stem, or the
broader will be the leaf which they compose. (See the excellent
plates accompanying Nees' Memoir just mentioned, t. 13, and 14.)

Such being the case, it will naturally be expected that the
structure of the Mosses should be of the simplest kind. The
Phsenogamous plants, and even the Ferns are furnished with
tubular vessels. In the vegetables in question, no such tubular
vessels appear ; all their parts are composed of but one original
form, that is the cellular. A mass of cellules, more or less elon-
gated, constitutes the whole plant ; varying, however, infinitely in
size and shape. Sometimes they are roundish, or oblong, or
linear ; sometimes decidedly hexagonal. Even in the unripe
capsules and fruitstalks of these plants, the structure is as apparent
as in the stems and leaves.

The want of tubular vessels is, however, compensated by the
softness, delicacy, and absorbent property of the cellular tissue ;
and, indeed, in no other plants are the elegant and beautiful
forms of that texture so distinctly displayed as in the Mosses ;
except, indeed, it be in the JungermannicB, which, in the formation
of their cellules, bear a close similarity with those I am now
describing.

The roots of the Mosses, are universally composed of ex-
tremely minute, simple, or branching fibres, generally thickly
matted together. In the creeping plants, as in the Hypnum tribe,
they grow from various parts, on the under side, of nearly the
whole length of the stem. Even some that are of an upright
growth, have this character, as Bartramia arcuata; in the case
of this Moss, the plants become thickly matted together, from the



INTRODUCTION. xvii

roots striking into the adjoining stems. Nay, such is the dis-
position manifested by some Mosses to throw out roots, that not



Online LibraryWilliam Jackson HookerMuscologia britannica: containing the mosses of Great Britain and Ireland systematically arranged and described with plates illustrative of the characters of the genera and species → online text (page 1 of 26)