British Mosses

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MR. JAMESON has produced a very useful treatise on British mosses, wel calculated to aid the student of their systematic classification. The book consists of an introduction giving clear and valuable information on the structure of the mosses, with a useful section on the practical examination of specimens; a key to the genera; a short account of each genus, followed by a key to its species; and a series of 59 plates, containing over 2400 figures, all of which appear to be clear, and some of which are admirably drawn and lithographed. The figures are for the most part not those of the entire plant, but of those parts which are especially useful in distinguishing the species. As the book contains no description of each species, but of the genera only, the student must mainly rely on two things-on the key and on the plates. The result is to throw a great burthen on the key, which is framed on the familiar dichotomous arrangement, by which the student is continually presented with one or other of two courses, so that the success of his search depends on his taking the right one of the two alternatives before him at each successive step. A single false choice sends him off in the wrong direction, and all his labour is wasted. It follows that the choice put before the student at each step should be between two alternatives perfectly true, perfectly distinct, and, if possible, indubitable. Now, here Mr. Jameson seems to us sometimes to fail. We repeat that failure at a single point may be fatal to the student's course. For instance, when the student has got to No. 119 in the key, he finds himself in face of these alternatives:—

Illustrated Guide to British Mosses.

By H. G. Jameson (Eastbourne: Published by the Author, 6, College Road.)

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