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Juniper Haircap Moss

Polytrichum juniperinum

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Plant Profile

Polytrichaceae (Haircap Moss)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, heathland, moorland, wetland, woodland.
Reddish-orange terminal leaves which look like flowers but technically are not.
The fruiting bodies are borne on a long, vertical stem.
Star-shaped from above with a distinct reddish-brown tip.
Other Names:
Juniper Haircap, Juniper Polytrichum Moss.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Polytrichum juniperinum is a species of moss that belongs to the genus Polytrichum. It is commonly known as the "Juniper haircap moss" or simply "Juniper haircap". This species is widely distributed throughout the world and can be found in forests, fields, and other areas with moist and shady environments.

Polytrichum juniperinum is a distinctive moss species with its characteristic green, hair-like structures (known as setae) that are used for spore dispersal. It forms dense mats or cushions on the ground and is often used in horticulture as a soil cover or as an ornamental plant in rock gardens.

Like all mosses, Polytrichum juniperinum reproduces via spores or spores and is capable of adapting to different growing conditions. It is also a important food source for a number of animals and insects.


Juniper Haircap Moss: A Unique and Resilient Species

Juniper Haircap Moss, also known as Polytrichum juniperinum, is a species of moss that is commonly found in temperate forests and woodlands around the world. This resilient species is known for its unique appearance, which includes a distinctive cap of leaves that resemble the needles of a juniper tree.

One of the defining features of Juniper Haircap Moss is its unique growth pattern. Unlike most mosses, which grow as a flat mat, Juniper Haircap Moss has a more upright growth habit, which is why it's also called "standing moss." The leaves of this species grow in a circular pattern around the stem, creating a tufted appearance that is similar to a miniature evergreen tree.

Another notable feature of Juniper Haircap Moss is its tolerance for a wide range of environmental conditions. It can grow in full sun or shade, in dry or moist soils, and in acidic or alkaline conditions. This adaptability makes Juniper Haircap Moss a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers looking to create low-maintenance, natural-looking landscapes.

In addition to its hardiness, Juniper Haircap Moss is also prized for its versatility in the garden. It can be used as a groundcover, planted in rock gardens, used to line pathways, or even as an accent in container gardens. Because of its attractive appearance, it's often used in combination with other plants, such as ferns or wildflowers, to create a naturalistic garden design.

One thing to keep in mind when planting Juniper Haircap Moss is that it is slow-growing and can take several years to establish itself in a new location. However, once established, it is a low-maintenance plant that requires very little care. It's an excellent choice for those who want a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape that doesn't require a lot of effort.

Juniper Haircap Moss is a unique and resilient species that is prized for its distinctive appearance, adaptability, and versatility in the garden. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this hardy moss is an excellent choice for creating a naturalistic landscape that requires very little care and maintenance.

In addition to its ornamental value, Juniper Haircap Moss is also an important species for the environment. As a member of the moss family, it plays an important role in the ecosystem as a keystone species, providing habitat for a variety of insects, birds, and other wildlife.

The thick growth habit of Juniper Haircap Moss helps to reduce soil erosion, and it acts as a natural filter for water, improving the quality of streams and other water sources in the surrounding area. It's also a great choice for green roofs and other types of living roofs because it helps to regulate the temperature and reduce water runoff.

One of the reasons why Juniper Haircap Moss is so adaptable is because it's capable of reproducing in a variety of ways. It can reproduce through spores of the stem, or by producing tiny spores called "gemmae" that grow into new plants. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who want to propagate their mosses and create a more extensive planting.

One of the most important factors in the success of Juniper Haircap Moss is proper soil preparation. The soil should be moist, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. If the soil is too dry, or if it's not rich enough in organic matter, the moss may not thrive. Additionally, it's important to avoid using chemical fertilizers or pesticides, as these can harm the delicate moss.

Juniper Haircap Moss is a versatile and resilient species that is valued for its ornamental value, its role in the environment, and its adaptability to a wide range of conditions. Whether you're looking to create a naturalistic landscape or a beautiful garden, Juniper Haircap Moss is an excellent choice that will bring beauty and sustainability to your outdoor space.

In addition to its ornamental and environmental benefits, Juniper Haircap Moss also has cultural significance. This species has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is still used today in some cultures as a natural remedy for various ailments.

For example, some Native American tribes have used Juniper Haircap Moss to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and colds. The moss was steeped in water to create a tea, which was then consumed to help relieve symptoms. Similarly, some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have used Juniper Haircap Moss to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive issues, skin problems, and menstrual discomfort.

Despite its traditional uses, there is limited scientific evidence to support the medicinal properties of Juniper Haircap Moss. However, this species is considered to be safe and non-toxic, making it an attractive option for those who prefer to use natural remedies.

Juniper Haircap Moss is not just a beautiful and resilient species that's well suited to gardens and landscapes, but it also has cultural and historical significance, as well as potential medicinal properties.In conclusion, Juniper Haircap Moss is a species that has a lot to offer in terms of ornamental beauty, environmental benefits, cultural significance, and potential medicinal properties. Whether you're a gardener, a naturalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Juniper Haircap Moss is a species that's definitely worth learning more about.


Juniper Haircap Moss filmed in the Chorley area of Lancashire on the 28th January 2023.


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