I have always liked the look of moss growing between pavers in the garden area. Other than that to be honest I have never given much thought to moss at all! Until I discovered the various uses for it in a survival scenario.
The picture above is sphagnum moss. It is a natural sponge of sorts and it’s high in acidic PH. This means if your need water and are lucky enough to find this in your path you can literally wring out drinkable water! The only issue with drinking water directly squeezed from this moss is the low possibility that it could be infected with halophiles. However in a survival situation the probabilities of the water being safe to drink are in your favor and worth the risk if this is your only method of obtaining drinkable water. This moss can also be used as a natural filter for other sources of water.
This versatile moss also has a medical function and acts like a natural iodine when treating wounds and rashes. After thoroughly cleaning a wound and closing it (if it is a gaping wound), apply the sphagnum moss as a bandage. Change the dressing as needed and reapply fresh moss each time. For treating rashes, again thoroughly clean the area and cover with the sphagnum.
This variety of moss is most often found in boggy and damp regions but what about other forms of moss?
Other varieties have their unique attributes and uses too!
The majority of mosses have a root system that is close to the surface making it easy to remove in sheets which can be used as an awesome building material for shelter. A natural insulating material that can be put over the top of your shelter and within a short time it will grow together closing gaps and insulating the structure. Insulation that acts a like a bit of extra glue to hold your shelter together, help keep it warmer or cooler and water proof! Never mind the camouflaging benefits of your shelter blending in with the surroundings.
If intentionally dried moss becomes an effective source of fire kindling as well. Much lighter to carry with you if you find yourself on the move in a survival situation than would be even twigs and leaves and easy to gather in large quantities without having to wander far from your camp or shelter.
Spanish moss above grows in long stings usually on overhanging trees. Once boiled to insure any little critters residing in it have exited and then thoroughly dried it makes an excellent source of padding. Stuffed between sheets of cloth for pillows or between tarps under a tent or makeshift shelter it allows for a bit more comfort than would the bare ground. Dried, boiled or not it also makes excellent tinder for fire, but I wouldn’t recommend carrying it with you unless you have boiled it due to the likelihood that it could be infested and no one wants their gear infested!
Reindeer moss above is actually edible. But it’s an acquired taste! Most often used as a tea even though the entire plant is safe to eat. It does have a bitter taste which can be improved with the addition of milk or sweet fruits if you are lucky enough to have those items available. I am told that a combination of wild raspberry and reindeer moss makes for a good combination for tea. Mainly a carbohydrate and without a lot of nutritional value it can help fill an empty stomach and provides some calories and short term carbohydrate induced energy in a crisis scenario.
Always be sure you have properly identified the moss you have located prior to eating or drinking from it as all varieties are not safe for human consumption. However, in a survival situation don’t over look the various uses for moss!