Moss is a simple, primeval tree that demands water to survive and also reproduce, therefore it tends to flourish in damp, shady places. However is that true that moss constantly grows ~ above the north next of trees?

Mosses need water come survive and also reproduce, for this reason you'll discover them in damper areas.

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Credit: jane Corey / WTML

Which next of the tree moss has tendency to flourish on depends where you room in the world. While it no occur solely on the north side of trees, it’s true the moss in the north hemisphere has tendency to prosper there.

Here in the UK, this is the next of the trees that gets the the very least sunlight. The damp and shady which moss favours. In the southern hemisphere, this is the southern side the trees.

Moss has actually been provided as a compass approximately the world, yet beware! Moss might grow anywhere as long as there’s water, not simply the north side of surfaces. For instance, the direction of prevailing wind and rain deserve to influence whereby moss grows. So don’t depend on the if you’re lost in the woods.

Why go moss choose the north side of trees?

The bottom heat is, mosses need water come survive and also there space a pair of reasons for this.

They’re non-vascular tree which method they don"t have actually a network of vessels that moves water and food approximately the plant. Every moss cell need access to water native the environment.They need water to reproduce. The masculine reproductive cells require to move via a film of water to reach the female cells because that fertilisation. Sometimes this is in ~ one plant but can also require them come reach one more plant, depending upon the species. If mosses dry out they space unable to reproduce, i beg your pardon is an ext likely to take place on the sunnier side of trees.

But the perfect damp problems don’t just take place on the north side of trees. If a tree bark is deep grooved with shaded crevices, moss can thrive there too. Or whereby there’s dripping water or on surfaces close come the damp ground.

What reasons moss to grow on trees?

Moss will prosper pretty much almost everywhere that has sufficient water, even if it is it’s trees, fallen logs, roots, walls, structures or rocks.

But tree offer other benefits to aid mosses colonise and also flourish. Tree bark is rough and also irregular, and also these cracks and crevices administer protected micro habitats. They’re appropriate for the small spores come develop and the growing rhizoids (which are a little like roots) to take hold. You’ll notification that smoother-barked trees, such as beech, have actually less moss 보다 rough-barked oaks.

And the steep trunks of tree are reasonably competition-free too. Over there aren’t many other varieties that have the right to take benefit of this vertical situations.

Is moss on trees an excellent or bad?

Mosses, along with algae and also lichens room not parasitic and also do not damage trees.

In fact, mosses and other plants and also lichens that prosper on and also around tree are critical part of biodiversity. Castle harbour a microcosmic human being that’s a haven because that jajalger2018.organisms that are too tiny for us to see. They incorporate our weirdest and most wonderful creatures such as rotifers, tardigrades and nematodes. 


Tardigrades, sometimes well-known as water bears, are some of the toughest pets known. They’re able to withstand mind-blowingly extreme temperatures and also pressure. Mosses additionally shelter invertebrates favor woodlice and also molluscs that are food because that birds and little mammals.

Does moss die in winter?

Mosses don’t dice off in winter. They have a anti-freeze which way they can tolerate an extremely low temperatures.

And when other vegetation die off and also leaves fall, moss is regularly greener and more noticeable throughout these colder, wetter months. They deserve to even proceed their reproductive cycles. Therefore winter is a great time to gain out and also explore your diversity.

uncover out for you yourself

Go on a moss hunt and explore the theory. Which next of the tree does it prosper on?

find a wood close to you

Trees woods and also wildlife


Ancient and damp, mosses are part of a team of plants well-known as bryophytes. There are over 1,000 in the UK, and some have an international significance.



types of moss in the UK: what they are and where to find them

Kate Lewthwaite • 30 Jul 2018


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