The coastal areas of Washington and Vancouver Island jut out into the Pacific and bear the brunt of the brutal wet and windy storms that blow in from the Gulf of Alaska during winter. The storms can be ferocious. Giant logs tossed like kindling can end up 50 or more meters beyond the littoral shoreline, a testament to the force of the wind and waves. A remarkable volume of rainwater, 200+ inches a year washes the coastal region creating a temperate rain forest of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock, Sitka spruce to name a few. The Hoh River area South of LaPush experiences up to 200 inches of rain a year. In uninhabited areas, moss and lichen reign supreme, draping trees, rocks and most things in a soft, living blanket. Inhabited areas can be covered as well…
Coastal mountain ranges, the Olympics in Washington and the Vancouver Island Range on Vancouver Island form a barrier of sorts between the coastal areas and the inland Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. The impediment of the mountain ranges help to absorb and attenuate the force of the wind energy and amount of rain. What weather that filters into the inland land areas and water is for the most part milder, more benign and dryer… at least when compared to the coastal territories. Port Townsend might see 20 inches, Victoria 28 inches, whereas Seattle sees 45 inches.
That spells moss. And… it will grow just about anywhere because most of them extract nutrients like dust and water from the atmosphere rather than by sending roots down into the earth or into a tree. Lichen likes it here as well and they are both hardy survivors.
Enough of all that. The following is an introduction to some of the mosses and lichens that are part of my daily day life. Enjoy …
One thought on “The Land of Moss and Lichen…”
Excellent article and pictures