that time to bust this myth. Photo: Jacob Copus/Unsplash

Every hiker, camper and bushcrafter knows the moss grows on the north next of trees and rocks, and also you deserve to use it together a navigational guide if things go southern … right? How about wrong? the time us navigate with this moss myth and find a path to the truth.

You are watching: Which side of the tree does moss grow on

The Reality

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

The ax moss is a bit confusing come non-botanical people. Really moss — of i m sorry there room over 12,000 varieties — 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 also commonly checked out in damp shady places. To more confuse budding botanists, no every plant that’s referred to as a “moss” is in reality a member the this group.

Both algae and lichens are periodically mistaken together a moss. Yet let’s put identification beside to examine a basic truth they’re all plants, and also most tree grow much better in the sun fairly than the shade.

In my woods, and many other sites i have explored, the moss is more heavier on the southern side that the tree, which is the sunnier side. For this reason if i bought right into this myth, the moss would steer me in opposing direction ns intended. Of course, there are always exceptions. As plants thrive toward the accessible light, they may grow far better on any kind of given next of a tree or rock. Because that that truth alone, this legend is busted.


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

But if we did have actually to develop a takeaway from all this, it’s safer to speak that many moss types grow ~ above the sunnier next of the tree, i m sorry would usually be the equatorial next of the tree.

Northern hemisphere moss usually grows on the southern side, while southern hemisphere moss typically grows on the phibìc side. And also perhaps this is the source of the myth.

Or it could be the environment-friendly algae Pleurococcus, often uncovered in a shady moist habitat (like the north next of tree in the north hemisphere), though it can likewise be found on various other sides that the tree in equal or higher amounts. So deserve to you ever before rely ~ above moss ar as a navigational tool? Hey, occasionally it’s right — kind of like how a broken clock is best twice a day. So, no. The prize is no.

Alternative Uses


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

Busting this legend doesn’t typical that moss is totally useless come a survivalist. Moss deserve to be stuffed right into your apparel or also your sleeping bag to add insulation and also increase warmth if your clothing or bedding no doing the cheat in cold weather.

Moss can likewise hold rainwater like a sponge. Simply wring the out into a container, disinfecting it before drinking the water, just to be safe.

Moss is astringent, enabling it to be a workable wound bandage (just store it top top the surface; never load a wound v it). Dried moss is likewise absorptive, making that a good filling product for homemade infant diapers and menstrual pads. Simply make your wanted item indigenous cloth, leaving an opened to to fill the pad or pants through dried moss.

Empty the article out once it’s no much longer absorptive. Then to wash the cloth, refill it, and repeat. And after you’ve answered nature’s call in the outdoors, a wad that soft damp moss makes superb toilet record substitute.

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To end up with something less nasty, countless dried moss varieties are great fire beginning tinder. Look for out crumbly dry specimens, and also hit them through the flame of a lighter or complement for finest results, despite some species will light from sparks alone.

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