Field of Science

Why are Mosses cool?

Have you ever been walking through the woods and noticed a patch of green on the side of a tree, rock or fallen log? Well you might have spotted a moss. Mosses are plants, typically small, and come in a variety of shapes and shades of green. One of the great things about them is that they are more and more interesting the closer that you get to them. What appears to be a swatch of green at a distance is actually a miniature forest up close. This is an image of a colony of Funaria hygrometrica, the cord moss, that I have growing in the laboratory. The mosses growing outside in Connecticut are currently not very photogenic due to the drought and heat wave we are having. But don't worry, mosses are quite resilient and most types can come back to life after drying to a crisp.


  1. So, what kind of mosses can I find in my Connecticut yard? And how easy are they to identify ... without becoming a specialist?

  2. There are quite a number of mosses that can be readily identified to genus and some to species with the naked eye. I would say that the amateur could easily learn the 20 most common mosses in the forests and yards of Connecticut. I usually teach 12 species during an afternoon on my public moss walks.

  3. How about a before and after of a crispy moss and then the same resurrected?


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