Edible Mosses

Mosses are small, soft plants that commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems. Instead of seeds, mosses produce spores which may appear as a capsule borne aloft on thin stalks. Mosses are non-vascular plants and have no internal water-bearing vessels or veins. Mosses do not absorb water or nutrients from their substrate through their roots, instead they absorb water and nutrients through their leaves, so while mosses often grow on trees, they are never parasitic on the tree.

Mosses play a number of important roles for humans. They are often cultivated in gardens and landscaping, though they can also sometimes be considered a weed in lawns. Decaying moss in the genus Sphagnum is also the major component of peat, which is mined for use as a fuel, as a horticultural soil additive, and in smoking malt in the production of Scotch whisky.

Connecticut has various species of mosses, but perhaps the most common is the common haircap moss, which can be seen growing in many different environments from lawns to forests to mountain peaks. Also common are the ground pine and clubmosses which can be found scattered along forest floors.

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