Back in March when I attended the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show I purchased a sweet little plant called spike moss. This was the not the first time I had purchased this plant though. I bought it two years ago for my woodland garden. It lasted quite a long time but finally died out. Not to be dissuaded from this neat little plant I figured I'd give it another try. Hey, two times is the charm right?
I don't know much about the spike moss but thought I'd share a picture with you and what little I do know of it. Rose had asked for me to share it at some point when I posted about my purchases back in March, so here you go Rose.
If you look at it closely it resembles an evergreen. It is really quite a beautiful little ground cover. My Southern Living Garden Book categorizes this moss as a 'moss like ground cover'. It is in the same group as mosses commonly called Irish, Club, and Scotch moss (Selaginella kraussiana-not the Sagina subulata but a different kind of Irish and Scotch moss). Who knew there were so many different kinds of non mosses? I believe my variety of spike moss is either Selaginella apoda (Meadow spike moss), but I cannot be sure since the only label that came with it said 'spike moss'. Please don't hold me to this Latin identification. If you know for sure what type it is, do let me know. All I am sure of is that it is in the Selaginella family.
Spike moss is not actually a moss but it does reproduce in the same way (by shedding spores). I think the distinction between true mosses and the spike moss is the fact that true mosses do not have a vascular system and the spike moss does have a vascular system. Spike moss can be found growing in the same habitat as both mosses and ferns; hence it is considered a fern ally. A good thing since my yard is just about perfect for mosses and ferns.
I planted my new specimen in a different spot than the I did the first time around hoping that will be the ticket to its long term survival. The nursery woman said all it needs to grow well is a moist soil. I have just the site for it too. On the north side of my deck where no sun ever shines there is a moist area where astilbes, hostas, ligularias, pulmonarias, and camelias grow.... Oh sorry, thinking of where the deer and the buffalo roam. The spike moss is doing great!
This moss started life in a four inch pot and is now at least 12" in diameter. It is full and lush and I've not had to add any additional water to it (even before all the great rains came). It makes a super good companion for the white astilbe in this location as the spike moss grows around the astilbe's feet while blocking all weeds and providing a great foil for the astilbe.
An interesting tidbit about selaginellas (courtesy of Wiki) says that many selaginellas are known as resurrection plants in the desert. They curl up in times of no rain then plump up and turn green when moisture is plentiful.
That is all I know about spike moss and now you all know too. Ever heard of it before? Or know that Irish and Scotch mosses are not actually mosses at all?
in the garden....