In the last few decades, the icy landscape in Antarctica has seen a sharp increase in moss presence. This is both due to changes in weather patterns and certain non-indigenous species brought to the region on clothing and equipment.
The origins of moss are fascinating. Facts about moss show that they’re very different from the typical plant, and there are even different types of moss. If you’re interested in learning interesting facts about moss, consider reading ahead.
Facts About Moss
What is moss, exactly? Technically speaking, they’re non-vascular flowerless plants. They usually form in clumps, and have leaves that are one cell thick!
Where does moss grow, though? Well, you can most often find them along streams, seeps, springs, basalt flows, high-altitude forests, and coastal forests. However, moss cultivation makes it possible to grow them on roofs and walls, and even involve them in aquascaping.
Mosses Don’t Have Roots
Mosses don’t have roots. How does moss grow, though, if it doesn’t have roots? Well, they contain cell filaments, or rhizoids, that attach to a surface to keep it in place. It then feeds on sunlight, rainwater, dew, and nutrients they may find on the top layer of soil.
They usually latch onto rocks and other surfaces found in water-bound environments. But, you can find moss in almost any environment, if the conditions are right. In fact, they’re an indicator of pollution and some research projects use them to determine whether an area is ecologically safe or not.
Moss has Antiseptic Properties
Moss was used during World War I due to its absorbency and antiseptic properties. It has sugar-based cell walls with polyphenols and carbohydrates. So, while it can have a pH-related impact on bacteria, it has a chemical effect that inhibits certain bacterial growth. While many might recommend avoiding it as a primary medical option for healing, historical cases show that it was effective.
Mosses Use Spores to Spread
Unlike common plants that use pollen, flowers, and seeds, moss uses spores for a unique form of proliferation. The male plant has reproductive cells in its antheridium with tails that swim! These are spread to female plants and enter the archegonium structure, via rain droplets.
Moss can also propagate asexually. This takes place when the stem of a moss clump starts seeing decay. This results in individual plants breaking off and starting regenerating on their own. This is known as moss matting, and can even occur in places like your home’s lawn!
Interesting Facts About Moss
Moss is considered one of, if not, the oldest plant on the planet. Its capacity to grow in almost any environment is incredible, to the point where people use moss for decorative art on walls and other surfaces. They don’t require roots, as they take in most of their nutrients from the air.
It’s even been used to heal flesh wounds in the past, and still has some medical significance to this day. Moss is also unique in its form of proliferation. As it uses spores instead of seeds, pollen, or flowers, to grow and reproduce.