Herbarium: Bryophytes

Bryophytes are plants without specialized tissues for moving water or nutrients. They reproduce by spores, have very tiny leaves, or no leaves at all, and do not have flowers.

The bryophyte collection houses mosses, liverworts, and hornworts and is a tribute to the career of Dr. Wilf Schofield, who came to UBC in 1960. Professor Schofield was the first bryologist hired at a Canadian university. When he started at UBC, the collection included roughly 3,000 specimens. As a result of Dr. Schofield’s efforts and those of his students and post-doctoral researchers, the collection has grown to over 250,000 specimens, a considerable legacy. After his retirement, Dr. Schofield continued his research, up to the month before his passing in November 2008. He was such an avid collector that his specimens will continue to be processed and added to the collection for some time.

This bryophyte collection is one of the largest and most important in the world. It has a broad geographic and taxonomic representation and includes nearly 300 type specimens, important for the original description of new species.


Using the Collection

The bryophyte collection, with 242,000 specimens, is the largest and most comprehensive one in Canada and one of the largest in the world.

The major representation is for British Columbia and adjacent states of the United States: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona, in particular. Strong representation is also true for the Atlantic provinces of Canada, largely through R.J. Belland. For Europe the collection has modest holdings; for Australia and New Zealand the collections are representative, but not extensive. The same is true for Japan, Taiwan, and the Hawaiian Islands. The lowest representation is for Africa and South America. The genera with the most comprehensive representation are: Mosses; Andreaea, Grimmia, Hygrohypnum, Hypnum, Hylocomium, Isothecium, Philonotis, Racomitrium, Rhytidiadelphus, Sanionia, Schistidium, Sphagnum, Takakia, Tetraphis, Tetrodontium and Hepatics; Anastrophyllum, Diplophyllum, Gymnomitrion, Lophozia (s.l.), Marsupella, Plagiochila, Ptilidium, Scapania.

Type specimens : 220

You can search the Herbarium’s bryophyte specimens through our online database.

If you would like to access the Herbarium’s bryophyte collection for research purposes, please contact Olivia Lee (see contact information).

For studies showing how the Herbarium’s bryophyte collection has been used, please see our Articles & Papers page.