Seattle's Green Growing Moss & the Moss-GMO Connection
Mosses Grow In Good Company With Leafy Compost & Ferns
To me, moss is comforting, always has been, since childhood in the northwestern United States. Moss is a fact of life anywhere west of the Cascade Mountains, and some places on the east side too.
Moss is a favorite sight and photographing the varieties is something I enjoy. In this article I present some facts about moss and 15 photographs I've taken in and around the Seattle, Washington area.
I was surprised to learn that moss plays a critical role in the scientific practices that are altering our foodstuffs in the 21st Century. In fact, as a result of the experimentation based on a certain species of moss, some exports are banned in much of the world.
Moss is no longer the humble plant that grows effortlessly along streams, in damp basement foundations, on fallen logs and in muggy forests. Now it's taken a place as a foundation for our healthcare and for the food we grow and consume. All Photographs © Leslie Sinclair
Moss is More Than Just a Pretty Heap of Fluff
Is moss just a pretty fluff in the forest?
Yes, it's not on my list of priorities; moss can grow, or moss can go!
The Biotechnology of the Bioreactor
Complex Biopharmaceuticals are very much in the news today, as scientists develop knowledge in the field of genetic engineering, thanks to an interest in moss.
With the intention of improving human health and altering the crops we raise. whatever position we take on the ethics of altering genes, the practice is already in place.
University of Freiburg professor Ralf Reski, with his team, invented the Bioreactor, in his primary focus on the genetics of moss. As a result of his work, a particular species of moss, Physcomitrella patens, as become the model plant for genome sequencing research across the globe.
Reski uses this research to experiment with the insertion of genes that link up with drugs into animals or plants to create Genetically Modified Organisms, and understanding moss is the basis for all this manipulation.
PHOTO CREDIT - I didn't take this one.
This photograph by Ralf Reski
In Case Your Interest in Moss is Piqued
Take a magnifying glass outdoors, says one Reviewer, and transform your world of understanding about the mundane moss growing on your trees and porch steps.
An assemblage of essays on the author's ruminations on the nature of moss. The author's insights inform those who approach nature from both a scientific, as well as a meditative perspective.
Hillside Roots Groomed in Moss
This is one of my favorite side views on the perimeter path around the Seward Park peninsula. It's a Winter scene, as during Spring the hill grows ferns and leaves and gains movement from the wind. During Winter it looks like the landscape is frosted in rich green velvet.
Chubby Spiky Top Tree Bulbous With Moss
The contrast between the lumpy quilted covering of the lower trunk and the spiked upper limbs attracts my attention in this photograph.
Positive & Negative Shapes Highlight Moss
it looks to me like a pedal shaped piece was cut out and placed to the right of the moss covered tree trunk. Somehow, this picture is linked in my mind with my sewing machine pedal.
Drippy Mossy Forest is Surreal
When elements combine just so, the resulting drifting moss forest is an enchanting venue for a solitary stroll, or scary tale making with the kids.
Mossy Log Cradled in Nourishing Leafy Blanket
Imagine a Winter forest without moss - no bright greens or young and light mossy greens, while grays and browns predominate, missing the complementary colors of Summer. Imagine this picture without the green. We need those contrasts, those highlights in our lives, to help us appreciate their polar opposites.
Long Fuzzy Gloves
I like the way the central tree appears to be extending a grasping hand clothed in a shaggy green knit.
Moss On Rock Fence Creates Landscape
As If The Moss is Sprayed On
A tree like this one, that has grown tall enough to catch the sun on the south facing side, usually dries out so much on that side that it's challenging for moss to grow on that side. Moss requires sufficient moisture on its host to sustain it's life.
Usually the most moss grows on the north side of trees, above the equator, and on the south side, below the equator. In this case the moss grows on the north and east sides of the tree.
Ornate Like Fancy Bronze
Sometimes moss is not so straightforward. It grows low and sedately and polishes off an old tree face, looking as if it were carved from a bronze plate with a hearty patina.
When The Sun's Just Right
Roots pop up, donning coverings of hairy moss, providing punctuation to an otherwise mundane landscape.
Photographs © 2013 Leslie Sinclair
An Article by The Author
Like a Velvet Covering
Along the paved path where I often walk, down by the lake, some cracks burst open. Winter's rains and raising lake waters pulled the soil down into the lake.
Over the months I had photographed the broadening expanse of the potholes and noticed that the asphalt in the area covered a cave like opening under several holes.
Sometimes the Plumbling's Outdoors
On the asphalt path along a local river I came upon this giant plumbing fitting. I thought it resembled a piece of antiquity, and enjoyed the play of rust and mushy moss.
Big Mossy Trunks Like Pillows
All over an old forest floor lie downed tree trunks, strewn like cushy pillows over the leafy carpeting. They appear as pleasant to me as overlooking a living room floor all readied for a slumber party with the sleeping bags already laid out.
Tree Trunks With a Smattering of Feathers
It's as if a stiff wind blew all the feathers off a flock of birds, and they pierced the bark of willing trees to grow like so many ferns, above their mossy coats.
Polished Roots in High Contrast to Mossy Coating
You Might Want a Little Camera & Case Like These Ones I Use
For my second digital camera I chose this little number. When I don't want to carry the full-sized camera, more often than not I take my Q.
Judge the quality of the photos from those shown here. They say the biggest cause of missed shots is failure to take the camera along, and this one fits in a jacket pocket.
The Q camera above has the bonus of an included zoom lens, and this is the perfect case that fits each lens. Having this tiny camera on a shoulder strap is the perfect way to go.
I keep mine handy near the front door and often grab it when going out for errands. You just never know when you might want a better quality picture than you can get from your smart phone.