it’s time to bust this myth. Photo: Jacob Copus/Unsplash

Every hiker, camper and also bushcrafter knows the moss grow on the north side of trees and rocks, and you can use it as a navigational overview if things go south … right? How around wrong? that time we navigate with this moss myth and also find a route to the truth.

You are watching: Moss grows on what side of the tree

The Reality

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Moss is a little low-growing tree that’s nonvascular and also doesn’t develop seeds. Photo: Patrick Vuong/OFFGRID

The hatchet moss is a bit confusing to non-botanical people. Actual moss — of which there space over 12,000 species — is a small low-growing plant that’s nonvascular and doesn’t produce seeds.

Moss is a spore-bearing plant, found throughout the world and commonly watched in wet shady places. To more confuse budding botanists, no every plant that’s called a “moss” is actually a member of this group.

Both algae and also lichens are sometimes mistaken as a moss. However let’s put identification beside to examine a simple truth they’re every plants, and also most tree grow far better in the sun fairly than the shade.

In my woods, and also many various other sites i’ve explored, the moss is heavier on the southern side of the tree, i m sorry is the sunnier side. So if i bought into this myth, the moss would steer me in opposing direction ns intended. The course, over there are always exceptions. As plants thrive toward the available light, they might grow far better on any given side of a tree or rock. For that truth alone, this myth is busted.


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Moss is typically heavier ~ above the sunnier next of the tree. Photo: Paul Jarvis/Unsplash

But if we did have actually to create a takeaway from every this, it’s safer to say that most moss types grow top top the sunnier side of the tree, i beg your pardon would commonly be the equatorial side of the tree.

Northern hemisphere moss normally grows ~ above the southern side, while southern hemisphere moss generally grows on the north side. And perhaps this is the source of the myth.

Or it can be the eco-friendly algae Pleurococcus, often found in a shady moist habitat (like the north next of tree in the northern hemisphere), though it can additionally be discovered on various other sides the the tree in equal or higher amounts. So can you ever rely top top moss location as a navigational tool? Hey, periodically it’s best — kind of like exactly how a broken clock is ideal twice a day. So, no. The answer is no.

Alternative Uses


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over there are numerous ways a survivalist deserve to use this stuff. Photo: Kory Pence/Unsplash

Busting this myth doesn’t median that moss is totally useless to a survivalist. Moss have the right to be stuffed right into your apparel or also your resting bag to add insulation and increase warmth if your garments or bedding no doing the trick in cold weather.

Moss can additionally hold rainwater favor a sponge. Simply wring it out right into a container, disinfecting it before drinking the water, simply to be safe.

Moss is astringent, allowing it to it is in a workable wound bandage (just save it top top the surface; never pack a wound through it). Dried moss is likewise absorptive, making it a great filling material for homemade baby diapers and also menstrual pads. Just make your desired item indigenous cloth, leaving an opening to fill the pad or pants v dried moss.

Empty the article out once it’s no much longer absorptive. Then to wash the cloth, refill it, and repeat. And also after did you do it answered nature’s speak to in the outdoors, a wad of soft wet moss makes superb toilet paper substitute.

See more: What Did The Explorers Expect The Northwest Passage To Provide ?

To end up with something much less nasty, numerous dried moss species are great fire beginning tinder. Seek out crumbly dried specimens, and also hit them through the flame of a lighter or complement for ideal results, though some varieties will irradiate from sparks alone.

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