Beaty Biodiversity Museum

Bryophyte Collection


V.J. Krajina established the bryophyte herbarium in 1949. He recognized the importance of bryophytes in the plant community. The herbarium was necessary for reference as well as deposition of vouchers. Approximately 3000 specimens formed the collection in 1960. T.M.C. Taylor was strongly instrumental in hiring a bryologist as a member of the Botany Department. W.B. Schofield was hired in 1960, the first bryologist hired in a Canadian university.


By 2000 the collection had grown to well over 242,000 specimens, largely acquired through a very active exchange, but also through extensive collecting in the province and elsewhere. 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 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. Lowest representation is for Africa and South America. The collections have been gained largely through research grants from NSERC. Bryophyta Canadensia (1969 to present) has yielded rich dividends in collections. Generous gifts of collections from Stanford University, through the efforts of J.H. Thomas has made that collection available to the scholarly community. Gifts from Vancouver City Museum and Royal B.C. Museum provided collections made by John Macoun to be curated and incorporated into the collection. Duke University and the Canadian National Museum of Nature have also contributed valuable historical collections.

A modest number of type specimens form part of the collection: 220.

The bryophyte collection is arranged taxonomically by family based mainly on Brotherus' treatment in Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien edited by A. Engler & K. Prantl, 1924. In some cases, for genera recorgnized since this publication, these are placed in the family to which they were ascribed. Families recognized since Brotherus' treatment follow more recent literature that interpreted their relationship. Within families, the material is in alphabetical order by genus and species. Each species is then arranged in order by geographical regions. The regions are separated by colour-coded index cards. North America (North of Mexico) is indicated by a coloured marker on the upper left corner of the card. The cards for material outside of North America have makers on the right. The geographical regions are assigned colours and numbers, where colours are put on the index cards, and numbers are placed on the outside of the boxes.
A number is assigned to each family. An index of genera and the assigned number for each family is available for users of the collection.

Genera with most comprehensive representation are:

Mosses Hepatics

  • Andreaea
  • Grimmia
  • Hygrohypnum
  • Hypnum
  • Hylocomium
  • Isothecium
  • Philonotis
  • Racomitrium
  • Rhytidiadelphus
  • Sanionia
  • Schistidium
  • Sphagnum
  • Takakia
  • Tetraphis
  • Tetrodontium

  • Anastrophyllum
  • Diplophyllum
  • Gymnomitrion
  • Lophozia (s.l.)
  • Marsupella
  • Plagiochila
  • Ptilidium
  • Scapania

There is a considerable backlog of undetermined specimens.

Modest financial support is available through the Vancouver Foundation that administers the Bryophyte & Lichen Fund. This fund was established to enhance the collection through support of students and professional researchers.

The collection at UBC is the largest and most comprehensive one in Canada and one of the largest in the world


The UBC Herbarium Bryophyte database is 60% complete and includes label information for all accessioned specimens in our Bryophyte Collection. There are currently over 158,000 specimens databased, with new additions each year.

Access the UBC Herbarium's Bryophyte Database: Search




Associate Curator of Bryophytes: Dr. Judith Harpel


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