Polytrichum Moss

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Polytritchum Moss – Polytrichum juniperinum is also called haircap moss, juniper moss, bird wheat, pigeon wheat and star moss.

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Polytrichum Moss - Hair Cap


Polytrichum Moss is commonly called hair cap moss or hair moss. It is a genus of approximately seventy species. The scientific botanical Latin name Polytrichum is derived from the Greek words "poly," meaning "many," and "thrix," meaning "hair." The moss grows very slowly to the austere height of 4-20cm. Like other mosses, it typically reflects the green spectrum of sunlight by itself appearing in shades of dark green.

As a result, Polytrichum produces a lush green moss carpet with an average lifespan of three to five years. It is ideal for covering those shady bare spots in your garden that receive indirect sunlight. The plant will withstand drought but may suffer some discoloration. Although mosses absorb water and make great soil stabilizers, you must be careful to avoid placing them in the path of water run-off before they are established.

Moss needs a fresh bed of ultra-smooth soil to establish. Quality of soil and pH are generally not a concern. Mosses set well on large smooth stones and tree trunks. But, it is best to plant a variety of shade-loving plants, and then surround them with moss as a living mulch. Mosses will grow year-round in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit if there are ample moisture and sunlight present.
Polystichum Moss, more commonly known as Hair Cap Moss, is one of the tallest and different looking mosses in the world. Hair Cap Moss takes its name from its distinctive hairs that cap the slender stalks. The strands can start as bright green and change to yellow, orange and red shades depending on the moisture content. The shiny spiked leaves that line the stalks of the moss create a lush green carpet that is excellent for holding soil in place on hillsides to prevent erosion. It grows well in shade and full sun. New growth can be established through transplant existing moss or from readily available spores. This hardy moss will spread quickly and can be cultivated by itself or with other mosses.

Polytrichium Moss is fantastic when planted in locations and gardens that provide full shade that only provides very little sunlight. This type of moss also does good in soils that are moist and well drained.

Polytrichum moss is extraordinarily ordinary. It doesn’t just grow abundantly from coast to coast of the United States; if one knows where to look, the hardy evergreen plant can be found on every continent on the planet, except for Antarctica. This is, in part, due to its ability to tolerate practically any climate and soil type, including those typically deemed ‘poor’ for the substantiation of plant life. The vast array of locations that polytrichum moss is native to is just astounding. However, it is also frequently found in gardens the world over.

Home gardeners and professional landscapers tend to appreciate the presence of most any kind of moss in a yard. This is not only because it requires just adequate moisture and to be kept clear of debris to thrive. Instead, moss, in general, can transform a regular plot of common plants into an oasis of sorts with a lush, fresh appearance. The presence of moss is associated with old things, and thus lends an air of age, mystery, and wisdom to even the most newly established gardens.


Polytrichium Moss is particularly pleasant to look at, though, due to its one-of-a-kind structure.

The perennial plant has a striking star-like appearance when viewed from above, thanks to pointed leaves that pop out at right angles all around its stiff stem. While it rarely exceeds twenty centimeters in height, polytrichum moss also grows taller than other species of moss. This feature is a simple way to add a compelling sense of dimension and texture to even the most complex gardens.


Many individuals mistakenly believe moss to be an annoying plant because it doesn’t produce flowers or fruits. However, the complex structures that polytrichum moss reproduce with are quite striking. Not only do they have a beautiful reddish tint, but their shape also mimics that of a flower! With so many intricate details- and thus few requirements for growth- polytrichum moss is an excellent addition to every garden.

Polytrichum Moss