Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Layering

 In the rainforest, mosses cover everything like a green blanket. Not "moss". Mosses, plural. There are so many different species, so many forms!

Covering old logs on the hillside above Hoomak Lake, I noticed one that looked new to me.

Step moss, Hylocomium splendens.

It almost looks like two mosses occupying the same log. But look closely; the fern-like branches sprout from the middle of the central stem of the leafy branch below.

These are new sprouts; mature, they will be as leafy as the ones beneath. Every year, the moss adds a new step, each new sprout curving upward from the branch below, so that the age of the moss can be calculated by following a strand from the root up.

The sporophytes also arise from the central stem.

Many sporophytes here, maturing from orange to red.

Now that I look at them, I realize that I have seen these many times, but the new sprouts were farther along, and feathery, so they didn't attract attention.


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En el bosque pluvial, los musgos cubren todo, como una suave cobija verde. Musgos, plural. ¡Hay tantas formas y especies!

En la ladera del lago Hoomak, vi uno que me parecía nuevo. Hasta parecía que eran dos musgos creciendo en el mismo tronco. Pero visto de cerca, se ve que las ramitas que parecen helechos brotan del centro del tallo de las rama inferiores, que más bien parecen plumas.

Es que son nuevos. Ya maduros, tomarán la misma forma de las primeras ramas. El musgo en inglés lo llamamos "musgo escalónes", "Step moss".

Cada año se forma otro escalón de ramitas brotando de las del año anterior; hasta se puede saber la edad de una masa de musgo, contando los escalones.

Ahora que los miro con más cuidado, me doy cuenta que los he visto muchas veces, pero no cuando los brotes recientes eran nuevos, tomando forma de helechos.



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