An Introduction to the

Malesian Moss Database


(Prepared by Benito C. Tan, and
placed online by Chua Keng Soon)


As a floristic unit in the world, Malesia is a vast geographical region spanning across the tropical Asia from Peninsular Malaya to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (see red line in the map above). The area is rich in all groups of vascular and non-vascular plants. It is one of the three important rain forest reservoirs in the tropics.

Mosses are a unique cryptogamic plant group having a sporophytic or spore producing body attached to the gametophytic or gamete producing body (see pictures). They are found almost everywhere in Malesia although some are endemic to one or two large islands. Others acquire large plant size and produce thick population at high elevations in tropical mountains. The distribution of Malesian mosses provides important information on the evolution of the local biota and locations of important moss resources.

The construction of a database of Malesian mosses started many years ago when I was a Research Associate at the Farlow Herbarium of the Harvard University. Since, the database has been updated off and on until the end of 1997. It is my intention to share the data with colleagues and students who are interested in the diversity of Malesian mosses. As the list of Malesian mosses has not been officially published, any printed reproduction of the list, either in part or as a whole, must seek my approval first. Likewise, I would be grateful to users who can point out to me any missing or inaccurate information of Malesian mosses presented below.