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11 Types Of Moss That Grows On Rocks!

The phrase “moss on rocks” probably doesn’t conjure up images of anything particularly interesting. However, moss can be quite beautiful when it grows on rocks, and there are many different types that can do so!

Moss is a low-growing, evergreen plant that can be found growing almost anywhere including rocks. There are many different types of moss that can grow on hard surfaces like stone and each one has its own unique characteristics.

There are over 30 different types of moss and each one basically fits into two categories acrocarpous and pleurocarpous. Let us explain what these two categories are so you have a better understanding!

  • Acrocarpous: have vertical growth and will show little or no branching and will grow in erect tufts that look like it’s forming a small colony like patches.
  • Pleurocarpous: tends to grow horizontally and much faster than acrocsrpous. They are usually monopodially branched, often pinnately so, they form carpets rather than erect tufts.

But why is this important you ask? Well knowing the type of moss and how it grows gives you an idea of the timing, what to expect, and what it will look like once it’s fully grown.

Much like when choosing flowers for your garden you want to pick the right plant for the right place, the same goes for moss!

The good news is both of these types of moss can grow on rocks, but of course, this depends on the climate, conditions, and where you live, all play a part in which type of moss will thrive.

11 Types Of Moss That Grows On Rocks!

1. American Tree Moss

American tree moss (Climacium americanumis) is found in the eastern and central United States. It can be identified by its small stature, fine leaves, and can grow in rocky, sandy, and forest environments.

This type of moss grows well on rocks and can add a touch of green to any outdoor space. Best of all, it’s easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of climates.

So if you’re looking for an attractive and low-maintenance addition to your yard, consider American tree moss!

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Partial Shade
  • Habitat: Rocky Woodland Areas

 Size & Type

  • Size: 5 Inches Tall
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

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2. Spoon Leaved Moss

Spoon leaved moss (Bryoandersonia illecebra) is mainly found in eastern North America, from southern Ontario south to Texas and Florida. Spoon leaved moss has greenish-yellow leaves and can grow larger than other types of moss up to 2.8 millimeters long.

Its ideal environment is swamps, woodland springs, and moist rocky surfaces along waterfalls making it the perfect moss for decorating stone surfaces around garden ponds and water features.

If you’re looking for a beautiful and unique type of moss to add to your garden, you should consider spoon-leaved moss!

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Seasonally Flooded
  • Habitat: Moist Rocky Slopes 

 Size & Type

  • Size: 2.8 Millimetres
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

3. Broom Fork Moss

Broom moss (Dicranum scoparium) also called wind-blown moss or fork moss is belongs to the Acrocarpous. This moss forms yellowish and dark green cushions patches in open woods and on exposed rocks.

It has narrow leaves that can grow 4 to 7.5 mm long and 2 to 5 inches high they are also arranged in pairs along the stem, giving it a broom-like appearance.

This type of moss grows in wooded areas, especially if they are rocky, however, it doesn’t grow as tall as some of the other types mentioned here, making it a good choice for smaller spaces.

This moss can also survive in full sun areas and is very drought tolerant making it a versatile choice for rock gardens and other landscaping projects.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Sunny, Moist To Dry
  • Habitat: Wooded Rocky Areas 

 Size & Type

  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Type: Acrocarpous

4. Pincushion Moss

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) is a small, cushion-like moss that can be found throughout the United States and Canada.

This type of moss has bright green leaves that are covered in tiny bumps. It gets its name from the fact that it looks like a pincushion when it’s fully grown.

Pincushion moss grows well on forest floors or rocky banks and can tolerate both wet and dry conditions. It’s also resistant to frost, making it a good choice for gardeners living in cold climates.

In the wild, the mounds can grow up to 20 inches while staying quite compact giving it that cushioned feel. The leaves, however, are only between 5 to 9mm long.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Partial Sun, Moist To Dry
  • Habitat: Rocky Forest Floors

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 20 Inches
  • Type: Acrocarpous

5. Feather Moss

Feather moss (Hypnum) is another type of moss that can grow on rocks. It can be found in the eastern United States, Canada, and parts of northern Europe.

Feather moss is a small moss that has delicate, feather-like leaves. The leaves have a bright red-orange color that’s usually visible when wet and grows in colonies in both wet and dry conditions.

This type of moss is often used in landscaping projects because it adds a touch of elegance to any setting. Feather moss also makes a good choice for rock gardens because it can withstand cold or even freezing weather conditions.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Damp, Partial Shade
  • Habitat: Forest Regions

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 8 inches
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

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6. Baby Tooth Moss

Baby tooth moss (Plagiomnium cuspidatum) has small, light brown triangular leaves that are covered in small bumps. It can be found in the eastern United States and Eurasia.

This type of moss is named for its resemblance to baby teeth and because its root system consists of fibrous rhizoids this helps keep it in place.

Baby tooth moss can be found growing on gravel, or sand, but, it also grows on moist rock surfaces as well.

However, baby tooth moss doesn’t do well in full sunlight or hot and dry conditions. It’s best to use this type of moss in partly shaded areas where the ground is slightly moist so it can thrive.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Partial Sun
  • Habitat: Woodland, Rock Surfaces

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 3 inches
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

7. Seductive Moss

Seductive moss (Entodon seductrix) is a type of moss that can be found across North America. This type of moss gets its name from the fact that it has a very seductive appearance.

It has shiny dark green leaves with a velvety texture that will spread like a shag carpet across rocks and rotting wood.

Seductive moss makes a good choice for rock gardens because it can withstand cold weather conditions. It also has a very attractive appearance, making it a popular choice for use in landscaping projects.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Partial Sun
  • Habitat: Moist Rock Surfaces

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 5 Inches
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

8. Mood Moss

Mood moss (Dicranum scoparium) is a type that is Native to North America. This type of moss is known as rock cap moss. Mood moss has a very distinctive appearance that grows into tightly packed tufts with dark green stems and leaves.

The leaves grow upwards giving it a wavy, fluffy appearance, and have spore-like capsules at the ends which are released in strong winds and form a new colony.

It has a very soft texture and is often used in flower arrangements because it adds a touch of color to any setting. Mood moss can be found in moist, shady areas and grows best on rocks. It can also tolerate drier conditions and direct sunlight.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Full Sunlight
  • Habitat: Rocky Surfaces

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 3.5 inches
  • Type: Acrocarpous

9. Water Screw Moss

Water screw moss (Syntrichia latifolia) is a type of moss that is widespread in southern Britain and typically grows on trees, however, it’s also known to grow on rocks and walls.

It has soft leaves that are nearly 3 mm long and spread when moist. This moss prefers areas with plenty of moisture.

Water screw moss ideal conditions are cold climates that have plenty of moister and can be found close to rivers and lakes.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Cold, Damp Areas
  • Habitat: Wet River Banks

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 3 inches
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

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10. Shaggy Moss

Shaggy moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) is another type of moss that can be found in Britain. This type of moss gets its name from the fact that it has shaggy-looking leaves that grow 6 mm long.

This moss also forms shoots that can grow up to 20cm tall and has a reddish-brown color. Shaggy moss grows in clumps and can be found on trees, rocks, and on forest floors or open grassland.

This moss can grow on rocks, however, if your planning to use this as a decoration then it may need a trim now and then.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Full Sun
  • Habitat: Rocks, Paths, Trees

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 7.5 inches
  • Type: Pleurocarpous

11. Catherine’s Moss

Catherine’s moss (Atrichum undulatum) has dark green leaves that grow up to 1cm and the stems up to 2.7 inches long and contain spores that are 3-4mm.

This moss can be found throughout Britain that grows slowly but can form large colonies over time. It does well in moist woodland environments!

If your planning to use Catherine’s moss as a decoration then you should place it in an area with partial shade so it will stay healthy.

Climate & Habitat

  • Climate: Shaded Areas
  • Habitat: Rockey Woodlands

 Size & Type

  • Size: Up To 2.7 inches
  • Type: Acrocarpous

So, now you know about some of the different types of moss that grow on rocks. Each type has its own unique characteristics and will thrive in different environments.

So before you start growing your own moss, make sure you do your research first! That way you can choose the right one for your needs.

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Final Thoughts

Moss is an interesting type of plant that can be used in many different ways. It’s great for adding greenery to rock gardens or landscapes and can also be used as a decorative element indoors.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant, then moss may be the perfect choice for you! To learn more interesting facts about moss don’t forget to check out our articles on this site.

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