Mosses are green plants that grow on land. They evolved from algae. Mosses do not have any components that make them stable like trees or grasses. That is why they only grow flat and form a kind of carpet. There are around 16,000 different species of moss. Not all belong to the same family, however.
Mosses stay small and grow slowly. They can therefore hardly assert themselves against other plants. They grow on rocks, tree bark, or leaves, but also often on forest floors, in moors, in the tundra, in polar regions, in the rainforest, and even in deserts. When entire layers of moss die off, the peat of the moors is formed.
Mosses can even absorb water from fog. They also find their nutrients in the water. These can be tiny particles in the rain. But the water that runs down tree trunks also provides the mosses with enough food. Mosses are important for nature because these nutrients end up in the soil.
People used to need dry moss as a filling material for mattresses, for example. Women use it to stuff their menstrual pads. The main importance, however, lay in the extraction of peat. People have always used peat as fuel. This is still done today in many countries in order to produce electricity. However, the burning of peat produces a lot of gas, which makes our climate warmer.
Our nurseries also need a lot of peat for their plants. In the Baltic States, huge swamp areas are drained and dredged for potting soil. This is also very harmful to the environment. Instead, you can use peat-free soil, such as compost.