Surviving on moss

ss_10featA great survivalist is constantly learning and adapting. The best inspiration is within Mother Nature itself. Nature never ceases to amaze us, offering endless inspiration and knowledge to those who choose to learn and expand their understanding of life. There’s a lot we can learn even from the simplest organisms. The simplest cells and initial forms of life are the oldest on the planet. We may have a lot to learn from plants that have survived hundreds of thousands of years.

Moss is one of the best examples, being one of the first forms of life on the planet. Almost everything on the planet is covered in moss, or to be more precise, there are moss spores almost everywhere, on every surface we touch. The sole purpose of this organism is survival. It doesn’t care about anything, it doesn’t think, it just grows and feeds on whatever it can find. If it has the appropriate environment, it will spread and develop. You don’t see the cells flourishing and moss developing because the environment isn’t friendly enough. By friendly enough we mean dark and reasonably wet. However, the spores are still there, everywhere, too small to notice with the naked eye and waiting for its moment. There are well over 12,000 species of moss and some of them have great survival benefits.

Sphagnum Moss

ss_10.3Sphagnum moss contains about 120 species of moss. Similar to many other mosses, it is extremely spongy and holds a lot of water. Since it is an acidic environment, bacteria doesn’t develop, so you could actually just squeeze it and drink the water coming out. There is a risk of infection with halophilic bacteria, however it is extremely small. These bacteria thrive in salty water and are used in many food production processes anyway. Halophiles, on very rare occasion, can develop within the Sphagnum moss and could make you ill if ingested.

Obviously, you wouldn’t be considering this unless you’re in an extreme survival situation. In this case, the odds of dying from dehydration will certainly outweigh the odds of finding halophile bacteria in moss. Most survivalists that have done it recommend it and there were no reported infections. In fact, sphagnum moss is also used to filter water. Due to its high acidity, survivalists have been successfully using it to ensure water safety.

Among many other types of moss, Sphagnum moss if great for dressing a wound. It has naturally occurring iodine, which makes it sterile. You can apply the moss as a bandage after cleaning the wound. Make sure you change it every time you clean the wound. This type of moss is also very good in soothing and healing rashes.

Moss is edible

Some moss species are edible. You need to be very cautious when deciding to eat wild foods; however this knowledge could save your life in a TEOTWAWKI situation. The three species of edible moss most common in the U.S. are reindeer moss, oak moss and Spanish moss.

Reindeer moss is a light-colored lichen that grows about an inch or so from the surface. It has bright red reproductive parts that could be mistaken for flowers from a distance. It can be found throughout the US, in dry, open areas.


ss_10.5Oak moss grows on oaks in mountainous regions across the US. You can recognize it by its pale, pointy edges colored in combinations of green and grey. Oak moss grows up between one and three inches, forming large clumps.









ss_10.6Spanish moss can be found hanging from trees around the US. It can be found mostly on oak trees, especially in the south eastern states. You can recognize it easily. It grows in what appear to be strings and you can recognize it by its almost white, light coloring. In contradiction with its name, Spanish moss is not in fact a moss. While not being a member of the same species from the point of view of a botanist, for a survivalist it is close enough and it makes little difference.

Any crisis situation can have dire ramifications. There is a wide range of cataclysms that can force you to abandon any civilized environment and turn to the forest for safety. Surviving in a forest might be one of the biggest challenges you have ever faced and you want to make sure you are prepared for it. Knowing how to live off the plants that grow in a forest will greatly improve your survival odds. Finding edible plants and food is one of the main challenges you’ll face and one of the most important arenas you need to win. Yet again, the more you know, the less you carry.





Did you ever eat or drink from moss? Did you ever use moss in a survival situation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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