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User / Diana Michaels / Meet Moss the Pioneer
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Moss is one of my favorite plants, a true pioneer and resilient survivor. But one needs a degree of humility to notice this hero in the shadows.

After a volcano erupts and the harsh lava has completely cooled down, one of the first plant colonizers is going to be moss. Spongy and soft, it covers the lava's sharp edges with a thick, green cushion.

Moss is a producer, since it takes in water and nutrients through its tiny leaves and at the same time absorbs sunlight for photosynthesis. Mosses are therefore able to survive without soil, taking up rainwater and mineral salts through the whole of their body surface. Now, that's something!

And if that's not enough, it's able to tolerate severe drying yet recovers immediately in the first rain shower. It lives and grows in modesty, at a rate of about 1 cm per year.

There are 500-600 different species of mosses here in Iceland and one of the most abundant species is called the woolly fringemoss, which you can see in this image, taken in the National Park of Snæfellsjökull, in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
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  • Taken: Nov 22, 2018
  • Uploaded: Dec 8, 2018
  • Updated: Dec 14, 2022