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All bryologists need books to help them identify the plants they see. Of those in print in the UK, these are the most useful:

  • Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland. A Field Guide. eds: I.Atherton, S.Bosanquet, M.Lawley. First edition 2010, British Bryological Society. ISBN: 978-0-9561310-1-0. Please click here for details about the book and how to order.

  • British Mosses and Liverworts E V Watson
    This classic volume remains the best introductory book on British bryophytes, and covers most of the commoner species. Whilst the nomenclature is rather out of date, it remains an invaluable book for beginners. (3rd Edition, 1981, CUP, ISBN 0521285364)

  • The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland A J E Smith
    The standard identification guide for mosses. Indispensible for the serious student. (Second edition, 2004, CUP, ISBN 9780521546720, see e.g. here)

  • The Liverworts of Britain and Ireland A J E Smith
    The companion volume to the above. (1990, CUP, ISBN 0 521 23834 X)
  • The Liverwort Flora of The British Isles J A Paton
    This tour de force has brought Jean Paton international recognition. A substantial book, with very full descriptions and superb illustrations by the author. (1999, Harley Books, ISBN 0 946589 60 7)
  • A Check-list and Census Catalogue of British and Irish Bryophytes Blockeel & Long
    Gives the standard nomenclature and vice-county distribution as of 2008. Essential, and available here. The data is also available for download on this site, and has been brought up to date to include amendments.

  • A Guide to finding mosses in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Peter Creed and Tom Haynes
    A neat little guide that covers most of the common species in lowland Britain. Available here

A superb guide to the biology and ecology of bryophytes, particularly from a UK perspective, can now be found in

  • Mosses and Liverworts Ron Porley and Nick Hodgetts
    This indispensible book is a unique, fascinating and scholarly introduction to the subject. It maintains the high quality of the New Naturalist series from Collins. (2005, Collins, ISBN 0 002 202123 h/b 0 007 174004 p/b)

Other books that you might see for sale secondhand, and are worth having, are

  • The Student's Handbook of British Mosses H N Dixon
  • The Student's Handbook of British Hepatics S M Macvicar


A few books and guides have a selection of bryophyte photographs. The best way of obtaining bryophyte images is to purchase CDs of digital images, for example those by:

Michael Lüth

Jan-Peter Frahm

Copyright © British Bryological Society .