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Recommended reading


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

General Identification

  • 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 Whilst the nomenclature is rather out of date, it remains an invaluable book for beginners.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.
  • Atlas of British & Irish Bryophytes eds: T.L. Blockeel, S.D.S. Bosanquet, M.O. Hill, C.D. Preston
    The latest Atlas of British and Irish bryophytes, compiled from the records of members of the BBS and published in 2014. Available from


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:

Other Literature

Refer to the page on Recent Literature for details of other books, and for a link to a useful website with a searchable database of bryophyte publications .


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