Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts), the pioneers of land plants

Woodsy Thyme-moss
on the Macnamara Trail

Cassandra Robillard spends much of her time with a hand lens getting up close and personal with nature.

At the Canadian Museum of Nature, she handles the movement and organization of specimens within the National Herbarium of Canada as an expansion-project technician.

A conservation biologist, Robillard relishes observing, identifying and collecting mosses and liverworts, tiny plants that grow on a solid surface such as rocks or tree trunks, usually close to the ground.

Mentored by curator Jennifer Doubt and others, she has been collecting and identifying Canadian bryophytes for 10 years.

As she reports on Scientists with Hobbies, that led her into a hobby doing Microsoft illustrations of mosses and liverworts for science manuals like Jean Faubert’s “Flore des Bryophytes du Quebec-Labrador, where she contributed some 150 illustrations of brophyte species.

Robillard notes that “it was fun to be able to create something that shows off how attractive and charismatic some of these plants can be, in a way that is accurate and representative of them.”

And at our April 6 meeting, she’ll show us how tiny bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornwarts) are the fascinating pioneers of land plants. 

Join us as we hear about their life history and ecological importance, and get to meet a few locally common species.