Mosses have been collected in Ohio since the 1840s. The Consortium of North American Bryophyte Herbaria (bryophyteportal.org) contains about 33,000 Ohio herbarium records. These are from Ohio herbaria at Kent State University (KE), Miami University (MU), Ohio State University (OS), University of Cincinnati (CINC), and numerous U.S. herbaria, including Duke University (DUKE), Field Museum (F), New York Botanical Garden (NY), Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), Harvard University (FH), and the Philadelphia Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences (PH). In terms of numbers of specimens, Ohio is among the best collected states.

There are moss records from every Ohio county. Counties with the most species, based on summaries from March 2018, are Hocking, 241 species; Jackson, 218; Franklin, 201; Adams, 192; and Cuyahoga, 190.  Consortium herbarium records for these counties are Hocking, 3351; Jackson, 1536; Franklin, 973; Adams, 2042; and Cuyahoga, 554. All the herbaria mentioned above have specimens from these counties.

The abundance of herbarium specimens is the cumulative effort of many collectors over many decades, even centuries. Some of the most prolific are mentioned here.

The early- to mid-1800s. Studies of Ohio mosses began with William Starling Sullivant (1802–1873). He was born in Franklinton [Columbus], Ohio, and is considered to be the “father” of American bryology (Smith 1905, Giesy 1957).

Sullivant’s interest in bryophytes began in the 1840’s. He and his companion, Leo Lesquereux, continued to collect and identify mosses until the late 1800s.  Sullivant’s specimens are scattered throughout U.S. herbaria, but most are found at PH. Some of the mosses named by or for Sullivant (and Lesquereux) include Bryhnia novae-angliae, Dicranum viride, Fontinalis novae-angliae, Fontinalis sullivantii, Orthotrichum ohioense, O. sordidum, Platydictya minutissima, Pohlia lescuriana, Thelia hirtella, T. lescurii and Tortula plinthobia. Some of last sightings of Ohio’s presumed extirpated species were seen by Sullivant and/or Lesquereux:  Archidium donellii, Bryum pallescens, and Pohlia lescuriana.

A contemporary moss collector of Sullivant’s era was Thomas Lea (see History of Lichenology, page 28 this issue of OBELISK). Lea collected in Hamilton County and surrounding areas in the 1840s. His specimens are housed at PH and FH.

The late 1800s. Harry C. Beardslee (1878) published a list of 261 moss species. His collections are housed at NY and CMNH.  William A. Kellerman and William C. Werner (1893) reported 267 species of mosses from Ohio, and this catalog included a complete history of botanical studies occurring in Ohio through that period (Snider and Andreas 1996). The bulk of their specimens are at NY. J.W. Eckfeldt collected in the Columbus area in the 1880s.  His specimens are at PH. Hannah J. Biddlecome collected in the 1880s in Greene and Champaign counties. Her specimens are at PH, FH and NY.  The liverwort, Cololejeunea biddlecomiae (Aust.) Evans, is named for her. E. Jane Spence collected in the same period, mostly in Clark and Champaign counties. Her specimens are at FH and PH.

The early 1900s. Locally-focused papers were produced in the first three decades of the 1900s. Edo Claassen collected and published papers on mosses in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties. Claassen’s specimens are housed at CMNH. Nellie Henderson (1931) wrote some of the first keys and descriptions for many moss groups, and Clifford H. Coles (1933) produced a checklist of mosses for Franklin County. The location of specimens collected by Henderson and Coles is unknown. Victor Sterki collected around the turn of the century, primarily in Ashtabula and Tuscarawas counties.  His specimens are at MO. Henry Smith Jewett collected in the first decade of the 1900s, primarily in Montgomery and Ross counties.  His specimens are housed at several herbaria, but primarily at DUKE and the Université de Montréal Biodiversity Center (MT). Additional publications from this period are found in Giesy (1957).

The mid-1900s. Many amateur and professional bryologists were actively collecting Ohio mosses and liverworts in the decades between 1940 and 1960. These include Robert T. Wareham (specimens at OS), Almon Rood (specimens at KE), Floyd Bartley and Leslie Pontius (specimens primarily at BHO), Irma Schnooberger (specimens primarily at F), Frances Wynne (specimens at F and NY) Mary Taylor (specimens at F), Margaret Fulford (specimens at CINC), William Bridge Cooke (specimens at CINC), Harvey Miller (some specimens MU), Harold Robinson (specimens at BHO), Robert Giesy (specimens at OS), Richard Kellough (specimens at MU), and Fred Anliot (specimens at DUKE). Selected publications from these two decades are found in Snider and Andreas (1996).

One of the most important publications in the history of Ohio mosses is Studies in Ohio Bryophytes by Robert Giesy (1957). He presented an in-depth history of Ohio bryology beginning before 1900 to 1957. He provided habitat descriptions along with county distributions for 331 species in 121 genera, and included the herbarium where the specimens were housed.  This work was the basis for the 1996 Atlas (Snider and Andreas 1996), and eventually the formation of OMLA.

The late 1900s. Cyrus McQueen and Robert Giesy (1975) published a list of bryophytes from Cedar Bog, Champaign County. Jerry A. Snider and Allison W. Cusick (1987) re-collected the mosses at Cedar Bog. Amy J. Osterbrock and Snider (1985) surveyed nature preserves in Adams County and published the first list of mosses from Adams County. Jerry Snider surveyed bryophytes at various Ohio state nature preserves, including Hueston Woods (Butler County) (Snider 1984), and Lake Katharine (Jackson County) (1988). Gary Merrill (1983) listed the bryophytes of the Lake Erie Islands.  Snider’s specimens are housed at CINC, and Merrill’s are scattered, with most of his Ohio collections at CINC.

Field studies of specific areas continued throughout the 1990s. Unpublished bryophyte surveys include those of Crane Hollow, Hocking County (Snider and He 1990), and of the Ravenna Arsenal, Portage and Trumbull Counties (Andreas 2001). Snider’s collections are housed at CINC, and Andreas’ are at KE. Sam Mazzer collected mosses in the Geauga County parks.  His specimens are at KE. Donn Horchler and Roger Troutman collected numerous specimens throughout Ohio, often from cemeteries. Their specimens are at KE, CINC, and the Gorman Nature Center (Lexington, OH).

Many of the bryophyte collectors who began in the mid-1990s remain active today. Barbara Andreas (often with Diane Lucas, Jeff Knoop, or Ray Showman) collected throughout the state (specimens at KE). Diane Lucas (often with Andreas, Carol Portman or Pauline Munk) collected throughout Ohio, focusing on Lorain and Erie Counties. Her specimens are housed at CMNH and KE. Jim Toppin and Janet Traub have concentrated their collecting in northwestern Ohio, and their specimens are primarily at OS and KE.

Jerry Snider (1982) compiled the first paper on rare Ohio mosses. In 1990, mosses were added to Ohio’s List of Rare Plants. Andreas (2013) described distributions and habitats for Ohio rare mosses, and explained the criteria used to list mosses as rare. Over the years, with increased knowledge of distributions, the number of listed mosses increased. By the 2016-2017 rare plant list, two mosses were listed as “threatened”, 16, “endangered”, and 9 “presumed extirpated” (Division of Natural Areas and Preserves 2016).

The early 2000s. Jeff Rose collected throughout Ohio, with a concentration in Delaware County.  His specimens are at OS.  Bob Klips, Cynthia Dassler and Jeff Rose made an extensive inventory of the bryophytes from Deep Woods, Hocking County (specimens are at OS). Rebekah Smucker collected in Carroll, Montgomery and Vinton counties, and her specimens are at KE. Carole and Bill Schumacher have made extensive collections during the OMLA forays, and their specimens are at OS and KE.

Based on a method developed by Swink and Wilhelm (1979), Andreas and Lichvar (1995) published a technical report that assigned a numerical value (0-10) to northeastern Ohio vascular plant species. The method, called the Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI), is used to evaluate the quality of a natural area. Andreas, Mack and McCormac (2004) expanded the FQAI for the entire state, and assigned numerical values to all Ohio vascular plants and Andreas added values for mosses. Bill Schumacher, as an ecologist for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, refined the FQAI, and used bryophytes to evaluate wetlands (Schumacher 2015, Schumacher et al. 2017).

Additional publications on Ohio mosses include a bryophyte study of Dysart Woods by Darrin Rubino and Morgan Vis (2001), a collection of mosses in the vicinity of Youngstown State University (Atwood and Chuey 2004), a bryophyte survey of Jefferson County (Andreas and Lucas 2006), a report on the first OMLA foray to Adams County (Andreas, Showman and Zloba 2005), and the results of the joint Crum/Tuckerman Combined Workshop in Adams, Gallia, Jackson, and Scioto counties (Andreas, Showman and Lendemer 2007).  The most recent publication on Ohio mosses listed 17 mosses new to Ohio since 2004 (Andreas and Lucas 2017). It provided distributions for five of the 12 species whose Ohio county distributions were unknown, and verified the county distribution of 14 of the 68 taxa whose county distribution was known only from literature citations.  The publication removed 10 species erroneously listed for Ohio by Snider and Andreas (1996).

Renewed interest and enthusiasm in Ohio mosses was spurred with the publication of A Catalog and Atlas of the Mosses of Ohio (Snider and Andreas 1996). This publication, along with the The Macrolichens of Ohio (Showman and Flenniken 2004), stimulated the formation of the Ohio Moss and Lichen Association in 2004. The history of OMLA since 2004 was compiled by Andreas (2011). Showman (2013) reported 543 new moss county distribution records were added during the first 21 OMLA county forays (31 counties have been surveyed to date).

Since OMLA’s inception, many authors have compiled species lists from the annual forays, and have written articles about Ohio bryophytes. These are published in the OBELISK (ohiomosslichen.org). Knowledge of Ohio mosses (and bryophtyes), is increasing, thanks to OMLA members.



Literature Cited

Andreas, B.K. 2001. The Bryophyte Flora of the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant, Portage and Trumbull Counties, Ohio. Unpublished manuscript. 66 pp.

Andreas, B.K. 2011. Ohio bryology and the moss atlas: history and progress. Obelisk 8: 9–12.

Andreas, B.K. 2013. Moss Musings – Deciding what is rare. Obelisk 10: 3–6.

Andreas, B.K. &  R.W. Lichvar. 1995. Floristic Index for Establishing Assessment Standards: A Case Study for Northern Ohio.

Technical Report WRP-DE-8, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experimental Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi. 16 pp. + 1 appendix.

Andreas, B.K., J.J. Mack & J.S. McCormac. 2004. Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) for the Vascular Plants and Mosses for the State of Ohio. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Surface Water, Wetland Ecology Group, Columbus, Ohio. 219 pp.

Andreas, B.K. & D.L. Lucas. 2006. The bryophyte flora of Jefferson County, OH. Castanea 70: 162–171.

Andreas, B.K. & D.L. Lucas. 2017. Additions to the Ohio Moss Atlas: contributions by a group of amateur and professional bryologists. Evansia 34:156–166.

Andreas, B.K., R.E. Showman & J.C. Lendemer. 2007. The 2006 combined Crum/Tuckerman Workshop in Ohio.  Evansia 24: 55–71.

Andreas, B.K., R.E. Showman & M.H. Zloba. 2005. Formation of the Ohio Moss and Lichen Association, and report of the first fall foray to the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, Adams Co., OH. Evansia 22: 92–100.

Atwood, J.J. &  C.F. Chuey. 2004. Additional county records and confirmations to the moss flora of Ohio. Evansia 21: 43-48.

Beardslee, H.C. 1875. Notes from Painesville, Ohio.  Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 6:16.

Coles, C.H. 1933. The mosses of Franklin County with keys to the genera. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. 46 pp.

Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. 2016. Rare Native Ohio Plants. 2016–2017 status list.  Ohio Department of Natural Resources (naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov).

Giesy, R.M. 1957. Studies in Ohio bryology.  Ohio J. Sci. 290–312.

Henderson, N.F.  1931.  Ohio mosses, Hypnales.  Ohio J. Sci. 31:44-73.

Kellerman, W.A. & W.C. Werner. 1893. Catalouge of Ohio Plants. Rpt. Geol. Survey 7: 56–406.

Merrill, G.I. 1993. Contributions to the bryophyte flora of the Lake Erie Islands. Evansia 10: 114–120.

McQueen, C.B. & R.M. Giesy. 1975.  Bryophyte flora of Cedar Bog.  Ohio J. Sci. 75: 188–190.

Osterbrock, A J. & J.A. Snider. 1985. A checklist of the bryophytes of the Edge of Appalachia preserve system, Adams County, Ohio. Ohio J. Sci. 85: 128–143.

Rubino, D.L. & M.L. Vis. 2001. A survey of the mosses of Dysart Woods, an Ohio old-growth forest. Castanea 66: 327–335.

Schumacher, Bill [William]. 2015. Ohio EPA’s wetland bryological survey. Obelisk 12: 16–19.

Schumacher, W., M.A. Stapanian, B.K. Andreas & B. Gara. 2017. Number of genera as a potential screening tool for assessing quality of bryophyte communities in Ohio wetlands. Wetlands 36: 771 ̶ 778.

Showman, R.E. 2013. Yea for the OMLA! Obelisk 10: 12.

Showman, R.E. & D.G. Flenniken. 2004.  The Macrolichens of Ohio. Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio Biological Survey, New Series Bulletin Vol. 14 (3) 279 pp.

Smith, A.M. 1905. William Starling Sullivant.  January 15, 1803–April 30, 1873. The Bryologist 8: 1–3.

Snider, J.A. 1984. A Checklist of the Bryophyte and Macrolichen taxa of the Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve. Pp. 122–128. In: Gene Willeke, (ed.)  Hueston Woods State Park and Nature Preserve, Proceedings of a Symposium, April 16-18, 1982. 242 pp.

Snider, J.A. 1988. Summary of the Study of the Bryophyte Flora of Cedar Bog State Nature Preserve, Champaign County, and Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, Jackson County, OH. Unpublished manuscript. 32 pp.

Snider, J.A. 1982. Bryophytes. Pp. 14–25. In: T.S. Cooperrider (ed.) Endangered and threatened plants of Ohio. Columbus, OH: Ohio Biological Survey Biological Notes No. 16. 92 pp.

Snider, J.A. & B.K. Andreas. 1996.  A Catalog and Atlas of the Mosses of Ohio.  Columbus, Ohio:  Ohio Biological Survey. 105 pp.

Snider, J.A. & A.W. Cusick. 1987. The Bryophyte Flora of Cedar Bog. Pp. 40–43. In: R.C. Glotzhober, A. Kochman, and W.T. Schultz (eds.) Cedar Bog Symposium II.  Columbus, OH. Ohio Historical Society. 95 pp.

Snider, J.A. & S. He. 1990. A Catalog of the Bryophyte Flora of Crane Hollow Nature Preserve. Unpublished manuscript. 106 pp.

Swink, F. & G. Wilhelm. 1979. Plants of the Chicago Region. Lisle, IL: Morton  Arboretum. 922 pp.

– Barbara K. Andreas