Bryophytes and vascular plants used in traditional home-made nativity sets were studied in an area of the Asturian Region, northern Spain. The results revealed a surprising plant diversity, with 66 bryophytes, three ferns and 37 flowering plants utilized. Most species, collected among more attractive mosses, were used only occasionally or accidentally, whereas only four large pleurocarpous mosses, Thuidium tamariscinum, Eurhynchium striatum, Hypnum cupressiforme and Pseudoscleropodium purum, were widely used, providing the moss base of all the sets. Additionally, eleven mosses and four native flowering plants were frequently selected. The diversity of the bryophytes used in nativity sets of different sizes is analysed, and the deliberate selection of moss species during the collecting is discussed. Finally, it is verified that the collection of certain showy mosses from forests and peat bogs could affect local populations of these mosses and entails the accidental removal of rare or endangered species.
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