Everything You Want To Know About Moss Spores
Moss spores are soft, small plants that traditionally grow in mats or clumps in shady and damp locations. There are roughly 12,000 species of moss, all of which are free of seeds or flowers. Traditionally, they are grouped into two families being hornworts and liverworts.
- Hornworts – These types of moss spores are characterized by their horn-like, elongated structure. They are found worldwide, often in quite large numbers like tiny weeds. Among land plants, these are believed to be some of the oldest ones still surviving.
- Liverworts – These plants are often so small that they are completely overlooked. However, there are some species that will cover a large piece of substrate. They are found around the world and considered a nuisance in shady gardens or greenhouses.
Moss spores thrive in areas with low light and high humidity or dampness. They are often found near the edge of streams, in wooded areas and even in cracks of walls and streets. Many varieties have adopted to an urban environment and only dwell in the city while others are completely aquatic, inhabiting marshes, bogs and other waterways with little movement.
Moisture is always a living requirement for them because they are made of very thin tissue that has no cuticle to hold the water in. They need hydration to survive however, they can come back to life after being started of water for a period of time.
Moss found on rocks and trees in northern latitudes typically grows on the north side while in the southern hemisphere it is the opposite. Interestingly, in areas such as dense forests that see no sunlight, moss spores are capable of growing evenly around an entire tree.
When moss is on a lawn, it is usually thought of as being a weed but at other times, it is encouraged to grow. It is always welcome in gardens of old temples as it is suggested to add age, stillness and calmness to the scene of the garden.
There are not many specific rules of cultivation as of yet. Many collections are begun by simply transplanting moss spores that are found in the wild. Just because you move moss from one shady area to another shady area does not mean that it will survive. Some species are very particular about where they grow and require quite specific requirements as far as wind shelter, light and humidity.
If you have a garden being taken over by moss, you can inhibit the growth of the plants by:
- Increase Sunlight – If possible you may need to trim back a tree or something to allow more light to reach the area.
- Offer Competition – By planting grass or other shade tolerant plants you reduce their resources for nutrients that they need to stay alive.
- Eliminate Water – Taking the water supply away will eliminate moss growth. You may need to create better drainage in your soil.
- Rake – Disturbing the moss manually will interrupt the growth.
- Chemicals – You can kill moss by applying ferrous sulfate. This is often found in fertilizers that is good for plants and grass but bad for moss. You should know that just because you destroy the moss does not mean that it won't grow right back if the conditions are not altered.
- Peat mosses were used in Finland during famines to make bread.
- Mexico uses it as a decoration at Christmas.
- Sphagnum mosses were used in World War II on soldiers' wounds as a first aid dressing. They are absorbent and contain antibacterial properties.
- Some decaying mosses within the Sphagnum family are used to make Scotch whiskey as well as a soil additive and fuel.