Surely in some films you may have heard the phrase “if you get lost in the forest remember that the moss grows only on the north side of the trees”. In case he was asking you if this was true, know that science has already answered this question. It turns out that, like all “legends,” there is always a half truth.
This is not an idea of the last hour and, as Dan Johnson, assistant professor of forest biology at the College of Natural Resources of the University of Idaho, says, this voice goes back a long time. It is not a totally wrong view, for generally the north side of a tree receives less sunlight than the other parts.
The reason is simple: since sunlight does not come to this side of the trunk there “should be cooler, damper and should have more shade, perfect conditions for mosses,” Johnson continues. Obviously, the growth of moss also depends on the place where you live. “There is a tendency for moss to grow on the northern side of a tree. This is in the northern hemisphere,” says the expert. “In the southern hemisphere, mosses would tend to grow on the south side, in the shade, of trees.”
However, creating perfect shadow conditions for moss can also be other factors, such as other trees (which generate shadow) or the slopes on which they grow. “The shadow and humidity are the best possible conditions for most mosses, so everything that can create those conditions could cause the growth of the moss,” the expert finally says.
“Better the compass,” Johnson finally says. How to blame him. Speaking of trees, do you know that in Cape Town many are being knocked down to save on water? While I’m here, the Great Banyan, a walking tree.