Return to the Name That Plant Forum | Post a Follow-Up

What kind of moss is this?

Posted by beauinbell 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 4, 13 at 13:54

It grows in northwest Washington state and thrives in full sun atop either sandy or humus-rich topsoil. It started popping up all over the place this spring for the first time. It's not Scotch nor Irish moss.

Thank you for looking.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What kind of moss is this?


Here is a link that might be useful: Sagina

RE: What kind of moss is this?

I think saltcedar got it. The plant looks like one I've been hoping to see here - maybe Sagina procumbens (Matted Pearlwort). That one has just 4 petals, instead of the usual 5, and seems to match your photo.

RE: What kind of moss is this?

I also have some volunteer non-Irish moss which impresses me as more "weedy" (less thick or compact) than the "true" Irish moss I've seen over the years. My volunteer has the nasty habit of dying once it's set seed, and I'm unable to find any at the moment in its usual location to count the petals and sepals.

Here's USDA's page for the various Saginas:
Five are listed for Washington state, as well as two others for British Columbia.

Years ago when I was trying to identify mine, I never got as far as figuring out whether it was S. decumbrens or procumbrens. But I did save a link to this page with good photos of the 4-petalled S. decumbrens:

RE: What kind of moss is this?

Thank you, saltcedar, jekeesl, and missingtheobvious! This was about to be my second "Oh, that would look great in my garden so I'll spread it around" mistake (the first was foxglove). It's too bad, though, because it looks attractive and slugs don't touch it at all compared to my now slug-decimated true mosses like Irish and Scottish. Time to adding weeding to my to-do list. Thank you again for your selfless aid!

RE: What kind of moss is this?

Ummm, Irish and Scotch moss are not "true" mosses - they are just another species of Sagina (Sagina subulata) like the photo above, both of which seem to be quite slug resistant in my garden. They do need decent, well-draining soil to thrive and are not the best choice for a lot of shade.

Creeping thyme would be a reasonable substitute for your Irish or Scotch moss if slugs really are an issue.

RE: What kind of moss is this?

Slugs, a shady spot, and caterpillars were too much for my Irish Moss. Thank you for the "true mosses" correction. Creeping thyme looks promising. Thank you!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Name That Plant Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here