Bryology (from Greek bryon, a moss, a liverwort) is the branch of botany concerned with the scientific study of bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts). Bryologists are people who have an active interest in observing, recording, classifying or researching bryophytes.[1] The field is often studied along with lichenology due to the similar appearance and ecological niche of the two organisms, even though bryophytes and lichens are not classified in the same kingdom.

Bryophyte 1
Common bryophytes found in central Japan


Bryophytes were first studied in detail in the 18th century. The German botanist Johann Jacob Dillenius (1687–1747) was a professor at Oxford and in 1717 produced the work "Reproduction of the ferns and mosses." The beginning of bryology really belongs to the work of Johannes Hedwig, who clarified the reproductive system of mosses (1792, Fundamentum historiae naturalist muscorum) and arranged a taxonomy.

Areas of research include bryophyte taxonomy, bryophytes as bioindicators, DNA sequencing, and the interdependency of bryophytes and other plant and animal species. Among other things, scientists have discovered parasitic bryophytes such as Cryptothallus and potentially carnivorous liverworts such as Colura zoophaga and Pleurozia.

Centers of research in bryology include the University of Bonn in Germany, the University of Helsinki in Finland and the New York Botanical Garden.

Notable bryologists


  1. ^ "Bryology at the New York Botanical Garden". New York Botanical Garden. Retrieved 24 December 2011.


  • Meylania, Zeitschrift für Bryologie und Lichenologie
  • Limprichtia, Zeitschrift der Bryologischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutschlands

External links

American Bryological and Lichenological Society

The American Bryological and Lichenological Society is an organization devoted to the scientific study of all aspects of the biology of bryophytes and lichen-forming fungi and is one of the nation's oldest botanical organizations. It was originally known as the Sullivant Moss Society, named after William Starling Sullivant. The Society publishes a quarterly journal distributed worldwide, The Bryologist, which includes articles on all aspects of the biology of mosses, hornworts, liverworts and lichens.

Andrew Price Morgan

Andrew Price Morgan (27 October 1836 – 19 October 1907) was an American botanist. He investigated the flora of the Miami Valley in Ohio. While his interest included flowering plants, as noted by his Flora of the Miami Valley, Ohio, his special interest was in fungi. Morgan worked as a teacher in Dayton. He studied the botany of the Great Miami River, publishing in 1878 the Flora of the Miami River, Ohio; Morgan also showed particular interest in mycology and bryology. A.P. Morgan was a mentor to the prominent American mycologist Curtis Gates Lloyd. His correspondence with Lloyd is stored in the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati.

British Bryological Society

The British Bryological Society is an academic society dedicated to bryology, which encourages the study of bryophytes – mosses and liverworts. It publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Bryology.


Buxbaumia (bug moss, bug-on-a-stick, humpbacked elves, or elf-cap moss) is a genus of twelve species of moss (Bryophyta). It was first named in 1742 by Albrecht von Haller and later brought into modern botanical nomenclature in 1801 by Johann Hedwig to commemorate Johann Christian Buxbaum, a German physician and botanist who discovered the moss in 1712 at the mouth of the Volga River. The moss is microscopic for most of its existence, and plants are noticeable only after they begin to produce their reproductive structures. The asymmetrical spore capsule has a distinctive shape and structure, some features of which appear to be transitional from those in primitive mosses to most modern mosses.

Buxbaumia (journal)

Buxbaumia was a bryological journal published in the Netherlands, beginning in 1947. It was named for the moss genus Buxbaumia. In 1970, the journal became Lindbergia and Buxbaumiella.

Camille Montagne

Jean Pierre François Camille Montagne (February 15, 1784 – December 5, 1866) was a French military physician and botanist who specialized in the fields of bryology and mycology. He was born in the commune of Vaudoy in the department of Seine-et-Marne.

At the age of 14, Montagne joined the French navy, and took part in Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. In 1802 he returned to France to study medicine, and two years later became a military surgeon. In 1832, at the age of 48 he retired from military service to concentrate on the study of cryptogams (mosses, algae, lichens and fungi). In 1853 he was elected a member of the Académie des sciences.

In 1845 he was one of the first scientists (with Marie-Anne Libert) to provide a description of Phytophthora infestans, a potato blight fungus he referred to as Botrytis infestans. Montagne is also known for investigations of mycological species native to Guyane.

He contributed numerous articles to the Archives de Botanique and the Annales des Sciences naturelles. The genera Montagnaea (DC.) and Montagnites (Fr.) commemorate his name. He died in Paris on December 5, 1866.

Edwin Bunting Bartram

Edwin Bunting Bartram (1878-1964) was an American botanist and bryologist. He described many dozens of new species in bryology, and contributed 143 works, including a number of books. He was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia Botanical Club, Torrey Botanical Club, New England Botanical Club, and the Sullivant Moss Society. His collections and publications contributed to the growth of the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany. He contributed 143 publications, including several books, to bryology.

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (née Knight) (January 9, 1858 – February 25, 1934) was an American botanist, bryologist, and educator. She and her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton played a significant role in the fundraising and creation of the New York Botanical Garden. She was a co-founder of the predecessor to the American Bryological and Lichenological Society. She was an activist for protection of wildflowers, inspiring local chapter activities and the passage of legislation. Elizabeth Britton made major contributions to the literature of mosses, publishing 170 papers in that field.

Franz Stephani

Franz Stephani (15 April 1842 – 23 February 1927) was a German bryologist specializing in liverworts. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation Steph. when citing a botanical name.Stephani was born in Berlin, Province of Brandenburg, in 1842. He attended and graduated from the Königliches Gymnasium, whereupon he began training to be a businessman in the wool-spinning industry. He worked both in a toy shop, and in a publishing house. In 1869, he married Marie Kell, daughter of the novelist Julius Kell and had two children. By the age of 34, Stephani began publishing papers on the subject of liverworts. He never attended university, and it is not known how his interest in bryology was sparked.Stephani is most remembered for his Species Hepaticarum, a six-volume attempt to catalog all of the world's species of liverworts and hornworts. In 1894 Stephani met with M. W. Barbey-Boissier, son-in-law of Edmond Boissier and owner of the Barbey-Boissier Herbarium in Geneva. In 1897 the Herbarium concluded an agreement with Stephani, by which they would publish Species Hepaticarum. Stephani in turn bequeathed them his herbarium, drawings, library, notes and scientific correspondence. The first editions of the work appeared in 1898, in the Bulletin de l'Herbier Boissier, and the final volume 27 years later, in 1925.

This is the only work that has ever attempted such a broad treatment of those groups, and saw the first publication of many new names. Almost 10,000 species are included, with more than 4,000 new ones described by Stephani. Unfortunately, the work is "often much condemned" for being of very poor quality, and "holds the reputation of being one of the most notorious publications in bryology."

Stephani created many new names for species that already had published names, and later researchers were left to sort out the nomenclature problems his work created. It is estimated perhaps only 25 to 35% of his species will prove to be valid upon investigation. A more precise figure cannot be made because "taxonomists are still busy clearing the mess."The poor quality of Stephani's work in his later years may have been the result of a progressive brain disease that affected work on the final three volumes, and the remnants of his life's work were published posthumously by Bonner in 1953.


Hedwigiales is an order of mosses. It is named after Johannes Hedwig (1730-1799), the founder of modern bryology.

Ilma Grace Stone

Ilma Grace Stone (1913 – 2001), née Balfe, was an Australian botanist who specialised in bryology. She was an author, collector, and researcher of Australian mosses, a subject on which she lectured and wrote.

Stone had graduated from the University of Melbourne by 1933, with a degree in Science, but did not begin her work on Bryophtes until around 20 years later. In 1953 she published a description of a new species, Fissidens gymnocarpus, and continued to contribute to moss taxonomy. Stone published more than 70 papers during her career, 11 after the age of 80. She is noted for keen observation and attention to often small and overlooked moss species, and for her contributions to their taxonomy. Stone is credited with significantly increasing knowledge of mosses in Australia, especially those in Queensland.

Inez M. Haring

Inez Maria Haring (née Inez Maria Eccleston) (October 12, 1875 - June 5, 1968) was an American botanist and plant collector, best known for her work in bryology as the Assistant Honorary Curator of Mosses at the New York Botanical Garden beginning in 1945.

International Association of Bryologists

The International Association of Bryologists (IAB), established in 1969, is a professional association promoting bryology (the study of mosses, liverworts and hornworts) globally for both amateurs and professionals. IAB was established in 1969 at the XI International Botanical Congress in Seattle, Washington, with the goal of increasing cooperation between professional and amateur biologists throughout the world. The organization sponsors conferences and meetings relating to bryology, and sponsors the publication of The Bryological Times and Advances of Bryology. Together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they compiled the first red list of endangered bryophytes in 1997.

Inés Sastre de Jesús

Inés Sastre de Jesús (born 1955) is a Puerto Rican botanist and plant taxonomist specializing in bryophytes. She has served as editor of the Caribbean Journal of Science and the liverwort Neurolejunea sastreana was named for her in honor of her many contributions to bryology.

James Eustace Bagnall

James Eustace Bagnall ALS (7 November 1830 – 3 September 1918) was an English naturalist with a particular interest in botany, especially bryology. He was the author of the first Flora of Warwickshire (VC38) in 1891. A noted bryologist, he wrote the Handbook of Mosses in the Young Collector Series, various editions of which were published between 1886 and 1910.

Johann Hedwig

Johann Hedwig (8 December 1730 – 18 February 1799), also styled as Johannes Hedwig, was a German botanist notable for his studies of mosses. He is sometimes called the "father of bryology". He is known for his particular observations of sexual reproduction in the cryptogams. Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is rendered in Latin as Ioannis Hedwig or Ioanne Hedwig. The standard author abbreviation Hedw. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.

List of Hungarian botanists

The below list contains most important Hungarian botanists in alphabetical order, indicating their main biographical dates and fields of botany in which they have been researching.

Philipp Bruch

Philipp Bruch (February 11, 1781 – February 11, 1847) was a German pharmacist and bryologist born in Zweibrücken. His father, Johann Christian Bruch was also a pharmacist.

He initially worked at a pharmacy in Mainz, and afterwards studied in Marburg and Paris. Following the death of his father, he inherited the elder Bruch's pharmacy in Zweibrücken at the age of 21.

Bruch collaborated with Wilhelm Philippe Schimper (1808–1880) on the epic Bryologia europaea, a six-volume work on European bryology. Also, he described a number of species from the moss genus Orthotrichum that received valid publication (Bruch ex Brid.) from Swiss bryologist Samuel Elisée Bridel-Brideri (1761–1828). The genus Bruchia from the family Bruchiaceae is named in his honor.

Bruch died on his birthday at the age of 66.

The Bryologist

The Bryologist is a peer reviewed scientific journal specializing in bryology. It is published quarterly by the American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS). It began as a department of The Fern Bulletin devoted to the study of North American mosses. Its first editor was Dr. Abel Joel Grout, who intended the bulletin to be "enabling any one at all interested in mosses to get some knowledge of these plants without excessive labor or expense ... the editor will also try to identify for subscribers difficult specimens accompanied by notes and return postage."

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