A few words about moss

What is moss?

Moss is part of a big family of Bryophytes which include mosses, liveworts and hornworts. These are mainly green, flowerless plants which reproduce by spores or asexual tubes. Mosses are very low in the evolution stage and haven’t formed a way to bloom. However, they are one of the most adaptable plants and can always find a way to grow, even in a very non friendly environment.

Pink Moss

Pink and Red moss is a thing! We don’t use any artificial colours or dye, there is not any magic and just nature. Pink colour may vary from light pink, reddish, orange or dark deep wine red.

fresh sphagnum moss
Pink sphagnum moss as we find it
We get very cold fingers picking moss through ice!

Our Sources

Highland Moss moss is sourced from commercial land where we have exclusive access. Our main site is Foudland Hill up near Insch in the North East of Scotland. Collecting with permission is very important as Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is unlawful to uproot any wild plant without permission.

We are a small business, working on a small scale and making sure not to exploit nature and let it grow back before we will collect it again from the same location. Some of our moss is collected from locations which are allocated to plant trees and we are trying to pick our moss before the area will be destroyed by heavy machinery.

pamela moss picking
Pamela and Noel on our of moss picking adventures
highland moss sustainable
Stunning fresh sphagnum mosses from our site

Moss or not moss?

Most of us have heard about Marimo Moss or Spanish Moss but did you know that these plants are not really mosses? We often use the term ‘’moss’’ to describe plants with specific texture or colour.

Some common non-mosses include:

  • Irish Moss (Arenaria verna) perennial evergreen used as ornamental rock cover in gardens
  • Another Irish Moss, this time oceanic algae used in food industry
  • Spanish Moss (Tillandsia) which is a cousin of pineapple
  • Reindeer moss (a few different kinds of Cladonia genus) which is not only food for reindeer but also used to decorate mossarium, terrariums and in preserved form for florists and art projects. It is a kind of Lichen.
  • Phlox subulata with bright pink flowers which looks like soft carpets, used in rock gardening.
  • Marimo moss – the moss balls are in fact an accumulation of algae.
Preserved and dyed Reindeer Moss
marimo moss
Beautiful Marimo Moss ball
Spanish Moss in the wild – but can be found at Highland Moss too!


Mosses and Liveworts of Britan and Ireland a field guide by British Bryological Society

Moss Gardening Including Lichens, Livworths, and other Miniatures by George Schenk

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One Comment

  1. I did not know that sphagnum moss comes in such a big range of colours until I received my first moss pole. Prior to that I was used to see either the dry moss bags or the mushy moss from big box stores which looks sad and brown. The strong pink/reddish hues are great to bring contrast against the foliage of the plants.