Tayloria mosses belong to the wonderfully named Splachnaceae family, and grow on dung and carcasses!
Such substrates are unusual for mosses, and Tayloria has several adaptations for its specialist life-style.
Mosses reproduce by spores, which in most cases are dispersed by the wind, and may or may not land in a suitable place for the spore to germinate. The spores of Tayloria are sticky, so they adhere to flies and other animals attracted to the dung or carrion. Moreover, the capsule producing the spores mimics the foul smell, attracting the visiting flies close to the spores. In this way, Tayloria mosses increase their chances of dispersing from one dung heap (or dead body) to the next.
Some overseas Tayloria mosses are so specialised that the odour they emit is chemically tuned to the dung smell of a particular animal.
New Zealand has three indigenous species of Tayloria mosses; look out for them! Te Papa’s WELT herbarium holds c. 160 specimens.