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Beautiful Flowers and Moss in the Forest Floor of Alaska.

C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster at the Kenai Peninsula Alaska. Oct 2006
A photo of beautiful moss and flowers that I found on the forest floor of Alaska. These mosses were very common in the wet tundra near the Alaskan highway 1.

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Can you help me identify these plants and mosses

  Photo by C. Jeff Dyrek 


Where Mosses occur

Mosses grow in poorly drained and persistently wet soils, In acidic soil conditions, in medium to dense shade conditions, in compacted soils and in places where you cut the grass really short, like my walking trail in the back of our property. 

Some people consider moss as a pest in the yard, but other people use the moss to make beautiful gardens and trails.  These mosses add a natural beauty to a garden or yard and the Forrest floor.  They grow in low light areas and are used to prevent erosion. 

Even though moss is a very hardy plant, it is also a very good indicator of poor air and water quality.  Even though they grow good in acid soils, mosses are very sensitive to acid rain and may indicate a negative change in the environment.  A good pH level for moss is about 5.5 which is slightly acidic compared to a pH of 7 which is a salt. 

I am now reading on the web and find that herbicides containing Glyphosate can kill the grasses and weeds but not affect the moss.  Roundup is one of these herbicides which will kill the weeds and leave the moss.    I tried this myself on my moss covered walking trails.  The results varied, it seemed that the moss resisted the herbicide best in the most wet areas, whereas  in the drier areas the moss turned yellow and almost died out.  So use the herbicide sparingly and you should have good results of the moss garden.

When I walked though a swampy area near Mt. Slide on Alaska Hwy 1, I noticed that the moss grew to be very, very thick.  Some areas that I looked at were more than a foot thick and it broke off in big chunks.  I just wish that I had more time to do some deep exploration and look at these mosses more closely. These were the most densely populated moss colonies that I have ever seen. 

There is one very interesting fact about mosses, they are the simplest plants on the planet.  These mosses can withstand cold, heat and severe drought without the need for roots and complex leaves.  Scientist from the University of Leeds have unraveled the genome for a moss called Physomitrella, which is the first of the non flowering plants to be sequenced.  These scientist say that the genes found in this type of moss can be used to increase the yields of crops and help feed the hungry.  Type this into a search engine, "Moss is a Super Model for Feeding the Hungry" 

After studying about the gene modifications that we are doing to our plants and research into gene modifications I am realizing that we are changing everything and moving everything around.  Beetles from Asia are killing the Ash trees in the eastern part of the united states.  Monsanto makes a wheat with a terminator gene which kills the plant before the wheat can become fertile.  Along with mans tampering with nature and the climate changes that we will be seeing very soon, all of mankind will have to change their way of life, or lose their life.  Climate change is real and many scientist are working really hard to prevent the effects of climate change from destroying our entire culture.  Are we going to see Global Warming?  The answer is NO, we are not going to see global warming, we are seeing it now.


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