Discovering moss

Mosses are plants in the Bryophyta taxon, together with liverworts and horworts. Bryophyta are an ancient family that has emerged more than 470 million years ago. They are one of the very first living organisms moving out of the Ocean to colonize Earth. Flowering plants in comparison appeared “only” 135 million years ago!

Mosses anatomy and needs are thus very different from flowering plants. Throughout half a billion years of evolution, mosses have adapted to extreme conditions.

Mosses have no sap. They absorb water and mineral salts by diffusion through their tissues. In case of drought, they can go dormant for several weeks or even longer, and then re-hydrate when conditions become more favorable.

Mosses have no roots. The rhizoids allow the moss to cling to its mineral or vegetable support. They do not require soil to grow.

Mosses have no seeds. They instread reproduce either by producing spores or by cloning. Moss growth is very slow, but they are incredibly resilient.

Ecological interest

Mosses are adapted to extreme conditions and nutrient-depleted environments. Because of this, they have very interesting ecological properties.

Mosses do not require any fertilizers or pesticides.

Mosses purify the air from microparticles and CO2.

Mosses act as pads in an environment: they limit noise, absorb moisture and provide thermal stabilization.

Practical interest

Mosses are frugal plants. Unlike grass, they do no need any mowing, watering or soil or drainage system. A moss green roof is hence much lighter than a traditional green roof.

Aesthetic interest

The moss advantageously replaces a synthetic turf. It brings softness, beauty and balance to gardens.

For more information on moss, you can consult the document (in French):

Voyage au cœur de la vie secrète des mousses
Sébastien LEBLOND & Anabelle BOUCHER

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