Giant Irish Moss?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by stonegarden, May 14, 2007.

  1. stonegarden

    stonegarden Member

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    I came across this type of Irish moss growing on the coast of California near a lighthouse. It seems to be at least 10X bigger than regular Irish moss. I thought that it was the environment that made it grow larger than normal, but I have been harvesting the seds for 3 years now and it continues to give extra large seeds and grow extra large.

    here I have pics of the two types of young Irish moss growing in the same pot, and the same age.

    Do I have a certain strand? Is there such a thing as Giant Irish moss? can anyone shed some light on this?
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It isn't a moss at all, what you have there is Procumbent Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens). Moss of course has spores, not seeds.
     
  3. stonegarden

    stonegarden Member

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    Hmm... still confused. you were right about the plant on the left being pearlwort. and the scientific name Sagina is synonymous with that of irish moss, and Irish moss DOES have seeds. so where does that leave us? Irish moss is not really a moss at all?
     
  4. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    You were given a botany lesson, sorry about that.

    I'd be curious to know if there are two varieties myself.
    Perhaps there is a polyploid form. Oops! there's that
    botany thing again. :-) Iris Moss is a flowering plant not
    a true moss. This is why I hate common names, they
    just confuse people.
    Regards
    Chris
     
  5. stonegarden

    stonegarden Member

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    so both types are not moss. (in all the garden stores I've been to it has the common name IRISH MOSS and it is always the smaller type) common names aside... from what I gather here are the two plant names in question:
    sagina procumbens and Sagina Subulata one is monster and one is mini.
    amazing. and I have seeds of both:):)

    Thanks Michael and Chris
     
  6. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Looks that way.

    Seems as if you have two of at least three possible species.
     
  7. Ken R

    Ken R Active Member

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    By the way, to make matters more confusing, the name "Irish moss" is also the common name of a seaweed, which is also not a moss. It is a commercially important plant, though, being a source of the food additive carrageenan.

    When I started reading this thread, my initial thought was, "How do you get seaweed to grow in pots?"
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There's several species in the genus Sagina; these are listed in the Flora Europaea:
    Sagina ambigua
    Sagina apetala - Annual Pearlwort
    Sagina boydii - Boyd's Pearlwort
    Sagina caespitosa
    Sagina filicaulis
    Sagina glabra
    Sagina maritima - Sea Pearlwort
    Sagina melitensis
    Sagina muscosa
    Sagina nivalis - Snow Pearlwort
    Sagina nodosa - Knotted Pearlwort
    Sagina pilifera
    Sagina procumbens - Procumbent Pearlwort
    Sagina pyrenaica
    Sagina revelieri
    Sagina sabuletorum
    Sagina saginoides - Alpine Pearlwort
    Sagina subulata - Heath Pearlwort

    That's an error (garden stores are forever making errors!!); the correct common name is Procumbent Pearlwort: http://internt.nhm.ac.uk/jobj/java/...&backtolisttype=search&searchlistvalue=Sagina
     
  9. Ken R

    Ken R Active Member

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    There are three problems with common names, and "Irish moss" illustrates all three.

    First, the same name gets applied to more than one plant. Sometimes, as with a pearlwort and a seaweed, the plants are not even closely related.

    Second, the same plant collects several names. Michael thinks there is a best common name for each species -- one that is widely accepted and reflects the plant's true standing among its fellow plants. Other people on this forum will disagree. How does the song go? I say "snapweed"; you say "bittercress" -- let's call the whole thing off.

    Finally, commom names will suggest family relationships that just do not exist. So, none of the Irish mosses are really mosses. Come to that, as a Portlander you may be shocked to learn that Douglas fir is not a true fir, western red cedar is not a true cedar, and mountain ash is not a true ash. (Michael would probably advise us to call it a rowan.)

    In contrast, botanical names are unique to each genus and species, each species should have only one true name (though scientists sometimes change the name when they discover a mistake in applying the naming rules, so some species end up with synonyms), and botanical names reflect accepted family relationships.

    The moral is, learn a few of the formal botanical names. You will find it avoids confusion when you talk with fellow gardeners, and incidentally you will learn a bit more about the plants.

    It's not as hard as it looks. Just pick them up one at a time, as you need them.
     
  10. stonegarden

    stonegarden Member

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    thanks all. appreciated
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The common weedy one in the Seattle area is Sagina procumbens.
     
  12. stonegarden

    stonegarden Member

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    that's the one I began the thread to ask about.

    originally my question was not weather it was actually moss or not. It was if anyone knew what it was called. and everyone has been very gracious and helpful

    I'm from San Francisco Bay and I never saw it in stores or in nature until I found it covering an intire hillside in Pt. Reyes CA. I was astounded to find it exactly like its extremely common relative: Sagina subulata only over 10X bigger. I was always a big fan of the Sagina subulata and cultivated it for my bonsai, and met Sagina procumbens with childlike enthusiasm. Too bad, at the rate it reproduces its no wonder it is invasive in Seattle.

    if no one minds I'm still going to call it "Giant Irish Moss" LOL
     

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