Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) are small plants which reproduce by spores or vegetatively by gemmae (tiny buds, leaf fragments or discs). Most bryophytes have erect or creeping stems and tiny leaves, but hornworts and some liverworts have only a flat thallus and no leaves. There are three main taxonomic groups: mosses (Bryophyta), liverworts (Marchantiophyta) and hornworts (Anthocerotophyta).
In Scotland there are just under 1,000 species of moss and liverwort, some 87% of the UK total, more than 60% of the European bryophyte flora, including some endemics. Although biodiversity is restricted by habitat (381 species moss, 167 liverworts and 2 hornworts ) they are an important part of the plant community of the Outer Hebrides and thrive in the moist, mild oceanic climate.
We began to have a serious look at bryophytes in the early part of 2013 and so far have photographed and identified over 50 species. This site is an inventory of the species we have recorded and contains photographs taken in the field together with images of their microscopic structure. Information on their distribution is available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
The accounts of individual species can be accessed through the A-Z indices of species or by using the search facility.