Types of Moss: Did you know that one of the oldest plant species we see around us is moss? We find them in the cracks, garden walls, and on roofs. They are capable to grow and survive in harsh environments. Though some may find it annoying they have incredible properties. They are also the best bioindicators of wastewater treatment, water pollution, air pollution, and acid rain. Also, growing moss around will help in cleaning up hazardous chemicals, filter rainwater, control erosion, and conserve water. Out of many species of moss, we are talking about some species in the article below.
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How Many Categories Can We Group Moss Into?
We can categorize moss into two groups. They are acrocarpous and pleurocarpous. The main differences between these two groups are, acrocarpous moss grows upright and does not have stems whereas pleurocarpous moss grows like a carpet.
Where Does Moss Grow And Can You Grow Them By Yourselves?
As said earlier, moss can grow in any environment. You can find them in a moisture area and also in poor substrate areas. But commonly you find them in humid, cool environments. Yes, you can grow moss by yourself. You can grow them as a ground cover as it is capable to give nutrients to the soil. It is also easy to grow moss in acidic and moist soils. Rock gardens and terrariums are also good places to grow moss.
Types of Moss
Out of many species of moss, below are the most common types of moss which you find around you.
- Pincushion Moss: If you love having softness, and looking for gaps between clumps then these are the best option. You can find them widely in Europe and North America. They got their name as the mounds look like pincushions which are used for sewing. They go up to two feet wide and five inches tall. Every cushion has stems that are covered in gray-green leaves that are lance-shaped. They appear velvety, deep green, and have feathery and smooth foliage. They grow in winter and autumn and prefer to grow in moist conditions but are also tolerant to drought.
- Rigid Beard Moss: Mostly growing on exposed stone, sidewalks, rocks, bricks, paving slabs, and concrete; this type of moss has tiny leaves which clump together forming stringy, dense, and soft mats. They grow into a thick carpet having a dark emerald green color and serve perfect for ground coverage. They prefer shaded, moist conditions and also grow on acidic soils. These moss have two effects- when they have tangled and low-these show an untamed and wild look on the surface whereas when upright and perk look today and neat. They grow in grasslands and rocks of alpine regions also.
- Dwarf Haircap Moss: These types of moss are attractive and look more like a succulent plant. They are known as haircap moss as their foilage looks like an aloe plant. They have red stems which are stubby which have triangular foliage growing in a rosette pattern. These moss enjoy the heavy shade and grow in sheltered areas, rotting logs, and on sandy, acidic and loose soils.
- Catherine’s Moss: These moss are popularly known as big star moss as the leaf’s growth pattern will look like stars when seen from above. The leaves spread in a lance shape out of the stems creating a star shape. The leaves look triangular and are bright green in color. They have a stiff texture becoming crispy when it dries. They primarily prevent soil erosion in sloppy areas and grow on grasslands, rocks, and different soil types. Though they prefer shady areas they will grow even when they are exposed to sunlight.
- Common Tamarisk Moss: Though these appear like a fern it is a common type of moss. The leaves look lacy and are delicate. The fronds- leaves of the moss have segments looking like needles, which give an impressive texture to the moss making it look elegant. The foliage of the moss is in the bright yellow-green shade having a dark stem giving a contrasting appearance. These moss prefer acidic soil and can be seen growing on neutral, clayey soils. They mostly appear in old logs and rock gardens.
- Big shaggy Moss: These moss are also known as electrified cat’s tail moss or rough gooseneck moss because of their unkempt and messy look. The moss grows on long tail-like stems and older foliage has a brown look whereas newer foliage looks bright green. This type of moss is commonly found in Pacific Midwest forests and grown alongside the rivers, streams, trees, and on fertile, humus, and moist soil.
- Juniper Moss: One of the examples of moss which grown on any continent including Antarctica. Though they prefer dry habitat they grow in moist environments also. Most of the moss prefers sheltered habitats but these prefer and grow better in exposed locations. These moss do not like wet surfaces so best for dry regions and they prefer acidic, dry soils. You can see them on gravels, quarries, forest footpaths, and grasslands. The stems of the moss are upright which have distance from one stem to another and look tidy. They are popularly known as juniper hair cap moss.
- Glittering wood moss: You come across this feathery moss in Canada, Russia and Scotland. They give out a decorative appeal looking similar to spruce trees. The red stems of the moss grow up to eight inches long. They also have anti-bacterial properties and are primarily used in floral displays and to cover the gaps of log cabins. They prefer growing in cool climates compared to hot ones.
- Water screw moss: You get to see this moss on trees, rocks and moist walls. They look like flowers giving a decorative look. The small broad leaves of this moss are packed into a circle all around the stem giving an appearance of a flower. This moss looks like a carpet of green flowers. They are even tolerant to flooding, prefer light shade and grow best in Sandy and gravel soils.
- Plume moss: This moss prefers to grow in acidic and moist soils. They can be seen in Northern Europe and Canada. This moss is also known as Ostrich plume feather moss or knights plume moss; as it will resemble a feather of a knight’s helmet. The foliage looks mid-green and can be found spread widely as a carpet on forest grounds. They grow better in partial to full shade areas.
- Shiny seductive moss: As the name indicates this moss grows the best in full sunshine. It is highly tolerant to sunny spots and grows rapidly. You can find this moss in the fence posts, logs, felled trees in North America. You can grow this moss in a rock garden or between plants to give an attractive base in your garden area.
- Baby tooth moss: Commonly found in Africa, North America this moss has a short life span. It has tall stalks which makes it easily identifiable. The leaves have a toothed margin and appear in medium green color. These won’t survive in high temperatures or sunny areas and prefer cool temperatures. They are capable to be grown in clay, gravel, loam and sand soils. These are mostly used by the birds to build their nests.
- Spoon left moss: The moss forms dense cushioning foliage looking like a blanket. Though the stems grow up to 1.5 inches long, the leaves that are tightly packed cover the stems. When you look at the leaves on the blunt stems they appear like a juicy caterpillar. The older leaves of this moss are brown whereas new ones are green. They prefer having partial shade and partial sunlight. They grow in rocky, moist, fertile and rich soils. They have a long life when they grow in the right habitat.