Moss is a unique plant

What is moss? This question seems strange, because most of us know that moss is a plant that lives in the taiga and tundra, which is the main food. But not everything is so simple. Let's take a closer look at this issue.


moss is

Moss is a lichen of the genus Cladonia. It is a unique living organism - a symbiosis of fungi and microscopic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

What does moss look like? This plant has a special structure: the vegetative body without roots and leaves (scientifically called thallus or thallus), looks like a small bush with very thin winding "branches". The height reaches an average of 10-15 cm. The color of a lichen can be different: whitish, yellowish, pink, light brown.

moss is moss or lichen

A moss tree is a plant that cannot regulate water balance because it does not have roots and leaves. Thallus retains rainwater or melted snow for some time, but quickly loses moisture and goes into anabiosis - an inactive state in which it can be without water for a very long time.After another rain or dew, the moss very quickly returns to the active life form, restarting the metabolism.

But nature thought of everything. In the wet "live" state, the moss thallus is soft, elastic. When dried, it hardens, becomes brittle and crumbles heavily. The wind spreads in the neighborhood the smallest fragments, which under favorable conditions begin to grow. So moss breeds (vegetative mode).

Places of growth

moss is moss or lichen

Now you know what the moss looks like, what kind of organism it is. Let's continue the description of the amazing plant.

Where is moss growing? Its homeland is north. It covers large areas of tundra, grows in open areas of taiga, in pine forests, in swamps, high in the mountains. Settles on tree trunks, stumps, stones, barren soil. It is found in all northern European territories, in the north of Canada, in the expanses of Greenland, in Siberia, in the Urals. Botanists claim that this lichen can grow in tropical latitudes.

The moss plant is highly resistant to frost, drought, tolerates temperature fluctuations, never gets sick.

The moss grows very slowly - only 3-5 mm per year.

Types of moss

what the moss looks like

The second name for moss is Kladonia (Cladonia rangiferina). The plant has several species, the most common of which are:

  • Alpine Kondonia - grows in height up to 20 cm, has thistle thistle, prefers sandy soils, open spaces;
  • Kladoniya deer is the largest moss. This is exactly the plant that deer so fond of (hence the name). The species is most widely distributed in temperate and northern latitudes;
  • Kladoniya is mild - it has a characteristic greenish-gray color, it is only 5-7 cm in height;
  • Kondoniya forest - has a greenish-yellow or light gray color, the height of one lichen does not exceed 10 cm, is highly valued by the northern peoples, has a burning-bitter taste;
  • unfinished Kladoniya - lichen is painted in light yellow or greenish-gray color, grows up to 10-12 cm in height, often grows on mosses, distributed mainly in Western Siberia;
  • Kladoniya is thin - the lichen is weakly bushed, it is distinguished by upright "sprigs", it has a beautiful white-green or bluish-green color, it is more common in central Europe.

All these types of moss are a valuable feed for animals that are widely used in the national economy.

Place of moss in nature and national economy

moss plant

In the north, where the vegetation is very scarce, moss makes up more than half of the diet of reindeer, and it is also valuable food for red deer, musk deer and other animals.

It is very often added to the diet of domestic animals - cows and pigs. This lichen is rich in carbohydrates, nutritionally, 100 kg of moss is equal to 300 kg of fresh potatoes.

A plant in a boiled and dried look is used in food by representatives of northern people. They are decorated with homes.

The moss is of tremendous value for medicine. It is essentially a very strong antibiotic. Usinic acid, recently found in the moss, is actively killing the tubercle bacillus. In folk medicine, it is used for peptic ulcer, varicose veins, thyroid abnormalities, for the treatment of cough and the normalization of the bowels.

Is moss moss or lichen?

where the moss grows

Very often moss is called "deer" or "Iceland moss." Because the plant is the main food of reindeer and is very common in Iceland - the "land of ice". However, this name is popular, it does not reflect the biological characteristics of the organism.Therefore, to the question, moss is moss or lichen, only one answer is correct: this plant is lichen.

Interesting Facts

moss is moss or lichen

As mentioned above, moss is a symbiosis of fungus and microscopic algae. So, if they are divided among themselves, the mushrooms die, and the algae continue to develop.

The main reason for the migration of reindeer is that after their grazing on a moss pasture, its recovery takes 10 to 15 years. Because moss grows extremely slowly.

The plant has no pronounced smell, but reindeer can find it under the snow up to 1 meter thick. Scientists have not yet figured out how this happens.

As the moss perfectly absorbs moisture, in the north it is worn as a newborn instead of a diaper.

And due to the fact that it inhibits the growth of putrefactive bacteria, they are lined with food in the north so that they do not deteriorate at room temperature.

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