Friday, February 4, 2011

Galloping moss


Hmm, just when I told you that plants don't move as adults - an assertion you think I'd be reasonably safe making - along comes the Botany Photo of the Day to proved me wrong.

"For my field work I am up in the (sub)Arctic quite a bit, and here I attach some pictures of an interesting plant phenomenon: mobile moss or what we jokingly call "galloping moss". These mosses are slowly creeping downhill, probably by daily frost-thaw cycles in spring and fall, and they seem perfectly happy with the movement. I have seen it in different moss species, including Sphagnum (not shown). Sometimes they stall out at a little crack or ridge, like in the photo, only to start moving again after a while. If the hill side steepens, their leading edges may be overrun by the rest and things get a little messy, but otherwise all is fine. "

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