Monday 30 April 2007

Moss gathering in New England


Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They 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. At certain times mosses produce spore capsules which may appear as beak-like capsules borne aloft on thin stalks

Mosses are found chiefly in areas of low light and dampness. Mosses are common in wooded areas and at the edges of streams. Mosses are also found in cracks between paving stones in damp city streets. Some types have adapted to urban conditions and are found only in cities. A few species are wholly aquatic, such as Fontinalis antipyretica, and others such as Sphagnum inhabit bogs, marshes and very slow-moving waterways. Such aquatic or semi-aquatic mosses can greatly exceed the normal range of lengths seen in terestial mosses. Individual plants 20–30 cm or more long are common in Sphagnum species for example.

Wherever they occur, mosses require moisture to survive because of the small size and thinness of tissues, lack of cuticle (waxy covering to prevent water loss), and the need for liquid water to complete fertilisation. Some mosses can survive desiccation, returning to life within a few hours of rehydration.

In northern latitudes, the north side of trees and rocks will generally have more moss on average than other sides (though south-side outcroppings are not unknown). This is assumed to be because of the lack of sufficient water for reproduction on the sun-facing side of trees. South of the equator the reverse is true. In deep forests where sunlight does not penetrate, mosses grow equally well on all sides of
the tree trunk

Moss is considered a weed in grass lawns, but is deliberately encouraged to grow under aesthetic principles exemplified by Japanese gardening. In old temple gardens, moss can carpet a forest scene. Moss is thought to add a sense of calm, age, and stillness to a garden scene. Rules of cultivation are not widely established. Moss collections are quite often begun using samples transplanted from the wild in a water-retaining bag. However, specific species of moss can be extremely difficult to maintain away from their natural sites with their unique combinations of light, humidity, shelter from wind, etc.

Growing moss from spores is even less controlled. Moss spores fall in a constant rain on exposed surfaces; those surfaces which are hospitable to a certain species of moss will typically be colonised by that moss within a few years of exposure to wind and rain. Materials which are porous and moisture retentive, such as brick, wood, and certain coarse concrete mixtures are hospitable to moss. Surfaces can also be prepared with acidic substances, including buttermilk, yogurt, urine, and gently puréed mixtures of moss samples, water and ericaceous compost

...oh ye and something about a troublesome wide receiver from Oakland being traded
to the Patriots too. Traded for a fourth round pick in the draft, that's embarrassing. Given that the Pats have also acquire Donte Stallworth, Kelly Washington and Wes Welker this off season means that Tom Brady has a worryingly good receiving corps to work with next year... not that he needed it really. The only thing that could possibly go wrong is if Moss implodes a la T.O. at Philly and takes his new team with him... but I'm sure that won't happen

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