Of the three phyla of bryophytes, greatest species diversity is found in the mosses, with up to 15,000 species recognized. A moss begins its life cycle when haploid spores, which are produced in the sporophyte capsule, land on a moist substrate and begin to germinate. From the one-celled spore, a highly branched system of filaments, called the protonema, develops. Cell specialization occurs within the protonema to form a horizontal system of reddish-brown, anchoring filaments, called caulonemal filaments and upright, green filaments, called chloronemal filaments. Each protonema, which superficially resembles a filamentous alga, can spread over several centimeters to form a fuzzy green film over its substrate. As the protonema grows, some cells of the caulonemal filaments specialize to form leafy buds that will ultimately form the adult gametophyte shoots. Numerous shoots typically develop from each protonema so that, in fact, a single spore can give rise to a whole clump of moss plants. Each leafy shoot continues to grow apically, producing leaves in spiral arrangement on an elongating stem. In many mosses the stem is differentiated into a central strand of thin-walled water-conducting cells, called hydroids, surrounded by a parenchymatous cortex and a thick-walled epidermis. The leaves taper from a broad base to a pointed apex and have lamina that are only one-cell layer thick. A hydroid-containing midvein often extends from the stem into the leaf. Near the base of the shoot, reddish-brown, multicellular rhizoids emerge from the stem to anchor the moss to its substrate. Water and mineral nutrients required for the moss to grow are absorbed, not by the rhizoids,but rather by the thin leaves of the plant as rain water washes through the moss cushion.
Moss spores are everywhere, even if there aren’t any mosses on your property. The spores travel on the wind to extreme distances, therefore proximity doesn’t mean density.
So, I was walking into work the other day and Ameren has a bunch of brick laced around its parking lot. Its fairly new2-5 years and saw a very nice pretty strip of moss growing in between the cobble stone! So, I did some googling around and found what I can do with it. I went to the cemetery and scraped off some Moss see what I can do with that… Its the flaky kinds and doubt it will do anything. I then went down to the creek behind the cemetery found some dark green moss growing on a rock that looked like the Pleurocarp moss but didnt take any of it as it wasnt the type I was looking for. The stuff between the bricks was very thick and smooth, very tight together too. Almost like velvet. Do you know what kind that might be? A pleu or acro moss??? I then want to make me a moss stress garden or terrarium for my desk at work. I drove around in some common places to see if there was any moss but no luck finding anything as of yet. I have not walked in the woods yet but plan to soon. Is it best to just find a decent retailer online and buy my own and start from there? When I get into something I go with both feet…. I have many hobbies by this method…. The fiance’ hates it when I find something “Interesting”
HI i have moss that i want to grow in a decorative pot and create a mini stonehenge garden with , i live in a country town in the Riverina of NSW in Australia (dry semi-arid climate, and characterised by hot summers and cool winters), along side my side alley there is beautiful lush green “mounds” of moss growing , and from what ive read so far im going to assume they are Acrocarpous as they are growing upright and very tight together , i know now from your site not to smoosh them up into some weird milkshake as i have read on other pages , my question is , how should i repot a carpet of this gorgeous stuff properly , so many websites say different things im getting confused, and my local nursery which is 120km away has no idea about growing moss
after a very hot dry spell, my moss that is touching my flagstones, is brown and brittle. I have removed the obviously dead stuff with a knife, now the other brown spots, do I just gently rake through it,,,is it just dormant…will it come back ?? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I live in Pennsylvania, zone 6, and other that this time of year, my moss creates a showplace in my garden path.
Good evening, love the blog and website. I have a few questions. I have inherited a very shady yard in which moss seems to love. I’d love to get it to spread threw out the whole yard but need to do something with the grass tufts that is speckled threw out. Is there a way to kill the grass but protect the moss? And if there is an area you would want grass but no moss how do you take care of that? I’ve read somewhere that it’s an acidity/alcaline thing. ?
I am building a large 75 gallon terrarium, within the terrarium I have both Acrocarps and Pleurocarps. I believe I anchored them correctly, however I assume I did something incorrectly. Both types of mosses show signs of browning and being brittle.
– Are my mosses dying?
– How can I promote hydration without over-watering?
– What is the best course of action I should take to help my plants?
I have an area of my yard that now has a pond, stepping stones, and a beautiful carpet of moss. Last year, earthworms started to invade a large section of the carpet that was near the edge. Is there any way of preveting that from happening?
They seem to plant spores or seed it and travel back and forth. When they have a busy day the condensation under the lid goes green 🙂 they are pretty cool. The moss is green and has little red stalks on it like flowers. What is it?
Clinton, you are probably working with bryum (sidewalk moss). The flaky moss from the cemetery could be paramecia lichen. Bryums are acrocarpous. Online retailers are an option for sourcing mosses, buyer beware though as many retailers do not collect, store or handle their mosses correctly and they are very likely to perish. Good luck and keep on mossin’ ~ David
David this is the greatest website….the myth section was awesome …i have been known to believe some of those myths!!! I am planning to grow moss in all my shady walkways…i am a huge gardener and just discovering the wonder of mosses….thank you for all the info…i have bookmarked your site for frequent referral as i endeavor down my mossy path in life….sincerely bucky..(.ps just fyi…I am a female my name always comes with the assumption that i am male!)
Mosses don’t do very well in terrariums unless they are managed carefully by removing the cover regularly and allowing for a dry period. If the mosses survive in the closed containers long enough, their growth will be unnatural and showing signs of atrophy. The lack of natural forces causing resistance allows for the weak and leggy growth. Good air circulation and rainfall make the mosses more compact and durable. Regularly open the containers and place them outdoors as much as possible to maintain the best health. ~David
hi there, i really enjoyed your site….it as very informative and i learned a few new things…..i have slowly becoming more and more obsessed with growing moss, but i live in an apartment so its kind of limiting……i have tons of moss jars and a few terrariums filled with moss……i seem to have a problem with my moss growing tall and thin rather than a thick carpet. it grows to be about 2″ tall sometimes, even though there is still bare soil to cover. i was wondering if you have any suggestions?