Moss-covered forest reminds us of primitive times. It is a layer only a few centimetres in hight creates a sense thick green carpet covering all around.
Moss: Classes and Types
The first mosses on our planet appeared more than 400 million years ago, long before flowering plants. Like ferns, these plants reproduce by spores. There are about 18,000 species of mosses, are grouped into three classes.
The oldest of them is hepatic mosses. The best known representative of this group is Blepharostoma trichophyllum, with its characteristic flat, widely ramified form. Most of moss and liverworts have stems and true leaves.
Blepharostoma trichophyllum most often grows on the ground and on fallen trees, stumps and stones along streams and rivers, forming dense or loose, mixed with other bryophytes, tufts, and even entire carpets.
A large class are also bryophytes. They are all divided in order according to the arrangement of their stems, leaves and the method of fixing in the soil. Mosses form a “cushion” in height from millimeters to several centimeters, and sometimes cover huge areas with a dense lawn of living plants and the dead parts with a layer thickness of up to 1-3 m or more.
The second large class — anthocerotophyta mosses, resembling the “liverworts”. They got their name from the Greek words anthos — flower and keros — horn, as the form of plants is a dark green plate socket (puff) with a diameter of 1-3 cm, tightly adjacent to the soil, and numerous corneal growths (sporogony) up to 2-3 cm high.
Hypnum cupressiforme refers to one of the most common species. In the forest, it can cover a very large area, but in inhabited places, on the walls and roofs of houses, it also has a place. The picture clearly shows long stems with spore boxes.
Leafy moss the Polytrichum commune resembles a twig of conifers. Its length can reach up to 15 cm, the Polytrichum commune is often lined with soil in the forest.
Tortula muralis forms small pads and grows on limestone stones, including on the walls of houses of this material.
Have some mosses boxes, by the with disputes sometimes accented similar on flowers, as, for example, the Polytrichum juniperinum
Cirriphyllum piliferum forms a loose light green tufts. It prefers calcareous soils, rich in nutrients. Cirriphyllum can be found in forests and thickets of bushes. However, they also find a place.
Hylocomium splendens is most common in forests, meadows, roadsides and quarries often give him shelter. In the process of growth forms the cascades, consisting as though of separate floors.
Sphagnum capillifolium grows primarily in swamps and wet forests. Plant height does not exceed 20 cm.this moss may have a whitish-green, brown, reddish or yellow color.
Anthoceros laevis — one of the few species of the genus of hornworts mosses that live in the Northern latitudes. This moss often appears first on moist soil after weeding on beds, in flower beds and especially in furrows.
On rocks and stones mosses feel out of competition: after all, flower plants have no place here. High humidity and regular water rises in streams also contribute to the spread of “green and fluffy”.
For many species ideal place of residence are trees, especially rotten. At the same time, unlike fungi, mosses are not parasites.
Mosses usually grow where flowering plants cannot take root: on rocks, on marshes, at keys and along a channel of streams, on trees. The fact is that moss does not have a root system. The water and nutrients they receive directly from the damp air or rain. In the tissues of the mosses are a special type of cells that keep moisture. During prolonged drought, the plants fall into a state of rest. They change color and reduce the intensity of metabolism to almost zero. At the same time, it is often enough only a few drops of water to emerge from hibernation.
The most frequent mosses are found in moist shady places. However, some species are quite adapted to the dry and Sunny habitats, such as Tortula muralis. Its leaves end with transparent hairs that reflect the sun’s rays and protect the plant from excessive light. In the Kingdom of moss, there are other survival strategies:
- anthoceros often live in symbiosis with blue algae that fix nitrogen from the air and pass it to moss;
- sphagnum is able to create an acidic environment and so prevent the emergence of close to a fungi, bacteria and plants-competitors.
Although in appearance the moss is almost invisible, its role in ecosystems is very big. Since it is able to absorb and retain a lot of moisture, it plays an essential role in regulating the water balance of forests and swamps and reduces soil erosion in open areas. And without moss sphagnum it would be impossible to form peat in swamps.
A dense green carpet of moss gives a reliable shelter for many small denizens of the forest and swamps and insects and small animals.
Moss in Your Garden
These plants prefer shady, damp corners on walls, near fountains and at roots of trees. The green patina gives the sculpture a mysterious charm, but lawn moss is rarely a welcome guest. Mosses, forming a solid green carpet, grow on old, unkempt lawns, as well as on acidic, dense soils.
The tenacity with which the moss is spreading through the garden, directly related to his ability to not only for healthy reproduction but also for vegetative, especially leafy types. So from each piece of moss, fallen from under the knife lawn mowers, can grow a full-fledged new plant. Thanks to this property, you will be able to almost easily populate part of its site “fluffy” inhabitants.
- Moss is cut to 5-10 mm and these tiny pieces are scattered on the surface of the soil pre-moistened;
- At the end of the process, the plot should be closed by cutting moss by at least 10%;
- After that, all properly pressed down and the first weeks of intense moisturize. Land before “sowing” can be replaced with sand or pebbles from lava.