You take a walk in the park, or maybe a ride on your bike. At some point you pause and look around. Maybe something will attract your attention, maybe not. There's a little pillow of moss near your feet. You've seen these before; nothing remarkable. Or maybe the view includes a green ground-cover, like you've seen before; nothing remarkable. If we can name something that we see, then it's more likely to get our attention and connect with something else in our minds. A botanist who specializes in mosses (a muscologist) would call the moss pictured below a Leucobryum, but we can just call it a cushion moss. It does remind one of a cushion, so that name ought to stick. And a botanist who deals mostly with vascular plants (they have roots and stems) would see what you see in the other picture and remark on the dense patch of Lonicera japonica. To us it's just common Japanese honeysuckle, but to the other plants, seen or not seen in this view, it's a tenacious competitor for light and nutrients. Scenes such as this illustrate "degraded habitats" where native Virginia woodland plants are being displaced by introduced species like this honeysuckle.
Thoughts on the park, its residents and how to preserve its natural beauty.