|Photo courtesy of my chickfriend Sarah Kerver|
So it inspired me to look up info on this plant that reminds me of ... my verdant childhood (Maryland has more moss than Texas. Our loss).
So what is moss? Here are some basic factoidals. They are not to be confused with lichens, more on those here. The neat part is, they get many nutrients from rainwater, not soil. However, if the rain droplets are falling through polluted air before they reach the moss (I wish the plural for moss was meece!), it will more likely disturb the moss faster than it will other plants. In fact, moss is a good indicator of air pollution Why? Here is a good quotation from Kevin J. Lyman of the Milkwaukee Public Museum:
Why are mosses and lichens sensitive to air pollution? Since mosses and lichens lack roots, surface absorption of rainfall is the only means of obtaining vital nutrients which are dissolved in rainwater. Lichens and many mosses lack protective surfaces that can selectively block out elements including pollutants that are dissolved in rainwater.So, it looks like finding happy moss in the middle of downtown ATX is a good sign! Hopefully this does mean that the air around the moss is clean :-)
Wanna grow your own moss? Try reading here first. Enjoy!
Ecological indicator: as discussed in another ecological indicator post on a toad, it is a measure of the environment (e.g. the presence/absence of an organism) that is used to evaluate the health of an ecosystem (more technical definition here).