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British and Irish bryophytes and their distribution

  • The Census Catalogue 2008 is available to order in print here. A version containing the basic data can also be downloaded as an MS Word document here. An updated version including the records published up to the end of 2018 can now be found here.
  • The latest Census Catalogue data (to end of 2018) is also available to download as a zipped file containing csv and Excel formats. The data is arranged in vice-county order, and includes the names arranged alphabetically, together with BRC number, Cenus Catalogue number, bracketing status, and the date of any amendment.
    It should be noted that when the BBS Council approved the proposal to make the data available, it did so on the following condition: "It is a condition of downloading this file that due acknowledgement is made to the British Bryological Society in any publications or reports of work which incorporate or make use of these data."
  • Checklist of British and Irish bryophytes 2009. This spreadsheet contains the current accepted list of UK species as defined by the 2008 Census Catalogue. There are also details of name and taxonomic status changes. It can be downloaded here.

Make your own vice-county checklist!

This is straightforward using the csv data file linked to above. Simply open the file, copy the section that relates to the vice-county you are interested in and paste it into a new document for you to format as you wish.

Web page displaying vice-county distribution data

John Lowell has written some web-based code for displaying the BBS vice-county bryophyte distribution data (up to and including 2019 records) on maps. This is a very quick and simple visual way of displaying the data of any species and can be found at


Electronic data entry cards for bryophytes

Digitizing bryophyte records from BBS recording cards is simple enough if you use an electronic data entry card.  Four such cards are supplied, together with an explanation of how to use them.  The cards are written in Microsoft Excel, and you just add site and collector information and then cross off the species, which are presented in the same arrangement as on a BBS paper recording card. These have now been updated for 2016.

Download a zip file here (2015 version, May 2016 update)

Altitude limits for bryophytes in Britain and Ireland

John Lowell, Mark Hill and Sam Bosanquet have updated the recorded altitudinal limits for British and Irish bryophytes in April 2014. The dataset can be downloaded as an MS Excel file here. Any amendments should now be sent to the joint Recording Secretaries, Oli Pescott ( or Chris Preston (

This set of limits, derived from the BBS Atlas database, will be frozen, but later changes are posted in an new version. This is now available and includes all altitude records received and processed by the Recording Secretaries up to the end of 2015.


BRYOATT - Attributes of British and Irish Mosses, liverworts and hornworts

This data set was produced in 2007 by Mark Hill et al. and includes a list of species specific attribute information including taxonomy, status, life history, biogeography and habitat. It is available as a printed publication but can also be downloaded from the BRC website at It is presented as a zip folder that includes a pdf introduction and an Excel spreadsheet.


Identification of Bryum species in Europe

  • Following the Bryum workshop at Preston Montford in November 2013, David Holyoak has prepared a guide to the identification of European species of the Bryaceae with notes, keys and a bibilography. You can download a copy here.


Identification of Grimmia species in Britain and Ireland

  • Ron Porley has prepared a number of keys on this critical genus:
  • A key he presented at the Grimmia workshop in 2016 and available as a pdf from Field Bryology here
  • A key based on that written by Jesus Munoz for the Flora Bryophytica Iberica - available here
  • The above key but only covering British and Irish taxa available here


MS Word latin names spell check

  • An MS Word spell check dictionary file is available. This contains the latin generic names and specific epithets for all plants listed in the current edition of the Census Catalogue, and has recently been updated to include the new names found in the second edition of The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland and the 2008 Census catalogue. Look in the help section of your version of MS Word to find out how to add it to your current spelling dictionary.
  • Download ccnames3.dic


Cumulative Index of BBS Publications

Including Cumulative Index and other details about the Moss Exchange Club (1896-1922) and British Bryological Society (1923-present) such as a list of Presidents and Secretaries, early publications and list of all references cited in publications.

Started in 1988, this has been available since about 2000 on the Internet and is now available from .  Updated versions currently appear about four times a year.

The Cumulative Index covers all of the printed publications of the Society including Transactions of the British Bryological Society (1947-1971), Journal of Bryology (1972-present) and Bulletin of the British Bryological Society (1963-2003) and Field Bryology (2004-present). The format is a searchable PDF file of more than 60 thousand entries.

More recently, in June 2018, a list of all the cited references, ALL REFS, (more than 82 thousand) printed in the Transactions (1947-1971) and Journal (1972-present) and Field Bryology (2004-present). The list is available as a searchable PDF.

Also available: The web site, has details of the Moss Exchange Club (1896-1922), lists of Past Officers, details of BBS publications and Census catalogues, etc, etc.  PDFs of some difficult to find early Census Catalogues and similar publications from 1877 to 1965 incl. the 1889 York Catalogue.  Also a PDF of a short account of the history of the MEC and BBS from 1896 to 1944 by Miss Eleonora Armitage, the only lady member of the original membership in 1896.

Also available: Maps showing locations for Spring and Summer meetings from 1946 to present are available.


Moss Grower's Handbook

  • First published in 1991, this is a distillation of Michael Fletcher's unique experience in forming and maintaining a collection of living bryophytes, based around his greenhouse at Reading. As well as being a very practical book, there are also sections devoted to an introduction to the science of bryology, and some of Michael's bryo-philosophical thoughts.

    This August 2005 Acrobat version is based on the text of the last Microsoft Word version (‘2nd edition in prep.’, postscripted ‘spring 2003’) by Michael Fletcher, that was previously available via the BBS website. No substantial changes have been made to this text. It uses the illustrations (including a re-scanned cover) of the printed 1991 first edition, and adheres as closely as possible to that format and its characteristic individualities. The index has been regenerated, using taxa and selected other words largely following Fletcher, although some words have proved impracticable to index and others have been added. The list of contents has also been regenerated, and both are now hyperlinked. This version was edited, adapted and updated (taxonomic names and references) for the British Bryological Society’s website, by Sean Edwards, with many thanks to Roy Perry for proof-reading and general suggestions.
  • Download pdf Moss Grower's Handbook (2.39MB, but worth the wait)

    © Copyright Michael Fletcher/BBS/Sean Edwards



Cross reference of names in 2nd ed Smith with those in the Census Catalogue

  • Following publication of the latest Census Catalogue (2008), Mark Hill has updated the cross reference of moss names in Smith's flora to those in the latest and previous (1998) Census Catalogues.  The new cross-reference also lists the simplified new BRC codes. Click here.


English Names for British Bryophytes

The complete 5th edition of English Names for British Bryophytes, written by Sean Edwards, is now available to download. This and future editions will now only be provided in digital format.

An Excel spreadsheet containing the Latin and corresponding English names is also available for download. This will facilitate searching and filtering of the names.

For those who purchased the third edition of the this book in 2003, Sean has been providing a rolling list of updates which are still available as a web page or downloaded as a pdf file ( 34 KB). This will no longer be maintained in the future.


Moss Exchange Club Reports

The Moss Exchange Club was name of the society from which the BBS evolved. From 1896 it produced a periodical known as the Report. These are currently being scanned by Mike Walton and at present the years 1896-1919 are available for viewing as image files. It is hoped that in the future they will be made available in a searchable format, but at present they can be used in conjunction with Phil Stanley's Index.

To see the files click here.

Copyright © British Bryological Society .