November 4, 2010

A Walk in the Woods: Mosses, New Growth

Yesterday's clear sky was a November gift, a break from the gray weather usual for this time of year. My woods walk was exhilarating; the light and crisp air raised my spirits, the intense spicey-sweet scent of wet earth and decaying leaves was so strong as to be almost dizzying. With the leaves fallen to earth and turned brown, the remaining green is to be found in some ferns and in the mosses. Mosses are in their glory now, bright warm and emerald greens, brilliant with new growth, encouraged by recent rains and the increasing light on the forest floor, no longer blocked by high foliage. I see some downed tree trunks covered in cushiony green, losing their original nature, looking like woodland benches. I have to bend down to closely look at the different forms of the mosses, greatly aided by the closeup lens on my camera.

A tiny moss growing on a log along with small shelf mushrooms, which are a couple of inches across, to give a sense of scale.

Many mosses are reproducing, sending up the wands of fruiting bodies, here making soft red haze above the green.

The lighter green moss, with its fern-like structure, seems to have very pale 'fronds' as new growth. The textures and subtle color shifts of the two mosses are lovely.

There is a large dark rock face that has become more brilliantly green with the advancing fall. Along with the mosses are tiny new ferns, each frond not more than two inches long, providing a visual counterpoint to the mossy mat. There's so much beauty to be found in these small plants.


  1. Isn't it amazing when you look at these closely to realize how many variations there are? Makes you realize the word "moss" doesn't begin to do justice to these little green beauties.

  2. I was noticing the brightness of the moss on my own woods walk this week, Altoon. It was a drizzly afternoon, and tree stumps glowed as if they were covered in a bright chartreuse velvet. I didn't realize I was looking at new growth, at a time of year when most everything else seems to be shutting down for the winter.

  3. so much variety...I love being so close to nature and really appreciating the richness, diversity and textures! I found you from Hannah's blog and thought I'd pop over and say hello...the greens of the moss looked so enticing!

  4. I'm pleased that all of you enjoyed seeing these brilliant little treasures.