A Book of Moss

If there’s one thing the readers of this blog like, it’s moss.
So this 1950 King Penguin book by Professor P.W. Richards might be of interest. Professor Richards complains that moss is unjustly neglected, quoting botanist John Bartram: “Before Dr Dillenius gave me a hint of it, I took no particular notice of mosses, but looked upon them as a cow looks at a pair of new barn doors.”
Richards is forced to admit, ‘As far as direct economic value is concerned, mosses are not of great importance.’ Although in former days, he points out, they were used for stuffing mattresses and pillows in rustic areas, or to make baskets and antiseptic bandages.
He gives some tips on how to cultivate moss – water with rainwater, and avoid lime: “With these hints and a little preliminary experience, anyone should be able to embark on a successful career as a moss gardener.”
The beautiful illustrations are by Johannes Hedwig from his 1787 book on mosses studied through a microscope.

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