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HomeSurvival TipsIs Moss Edible or Toxic? 6 Sorts of Moss You Can Eat

Is Moss Edible or Toxic? 6 Sorts of Moss You Can Eat

In relation to survival, the whole lot is about requirements. One of the vital vital requirements is meals. You possibly can go a very long time earlier than you starve, however diminishing power ranges will significantly hamper your efforts to outlive. Accordingly, making use of wild-caught and foraged meals is excessive on the precedence listing for preppers.


There’s heaps to eat out on the planet, and far of it’s plentiful if you already know what’s protected and what’s not. One of the vital frequent sorts of flowers out there may be moss. However is moss edible or toxic?

Moss, as a rule, is edible although there are just a few poisonous varieties on the market. And whereas moss could be very plentiful, it gives little or no in the best way of energy or different vitamins. In all instances, it’s finest to correctly prepare dinner it to attenuate the probabilities of meals poisoning or digestive hassle.

Moss is a type of issues that most likely isn’t your first selection out within the wild, and even whether it is it’s best to search for one thing higher. It doesn’t have a lot for you when it comes to vitamins that your physique has to have for optimum perform and energy for power.

That stated, you’ll be able to undoubtedly use moss to get a bit of bit in the best way of meals, or to bulk up different objects that you simply might need. There’s a complete lot extra you’ll need to know earlier than you begin harvesting, and I’ll inform you about it under…

Most Mosses are Certainly Edible

The excellent news, so far as survival meals is worried, is it the overwhelming majority of mosses you’ll discover round the USA and certainly a lot of the world are edible.

That is to say they aren’t overtly poisonous or toxic, and also you shouldn’t count on horrible outcomes from consuming them so long as you put together them accurately.

Contemplating how plentiful most forms of moss are in numerous biomes, that is one thing of a consolation since you’ll be capable to discover not less than one thing to eat if you already know the place to look and the best way to harvest it. Undoubtedly excellent news in a survival scenario.

Even higher information is that there’s a precedent for individuals consuming moss, and there was for a really very long time. A couple of sorts of moss have truly been vital cultural meals, survival staples, or emergency rations in the USA and elsewhere on the planet for hundreds of years.

I’m not saying they’re notably good- they aren’t- but it surely’s good to know that you simply gained’t be blazing a path on the subject of consuming moss!

Moss Has Very Little to Provide, Nutritionally

Nevertheless it’s not all excellent news regarding moss as survival meals. Moss, no matter type it’s, has solely little or no to give you when it comes to vitamins, each macronutrients like protein, fats, and carbohydrates and in addition micronutrients within the type of nutritional vitamins and minerals.

Principally, you’ll must eat a ton of the stuff if you wish to have a significant meal and even get a correct fraction of your each day necessities.

It’s much more doubtless that you simply’ll use moss as a type of “filler meals” to bulk up your weight loss plan a bit of bit and maybe profit from different foraged or hunted meals that you simply’ve managed to put your fingers on.

That’s in actual fact how moss has most frequently been used for meals traditionally: added to dough and porridge, used as a thickener for soups, and many others.

Plus, even if you’re gathering a sort of moss that’s notably ample like Spanish moss, you aren’t essentially finest served by consuming a ton of it…

Many sorts of moss are both intensely acidic or produce other compounds that may trigger abdomen issues and different digestive misery for those who overeat.

In brief, moss can’t be a major meals merchandise even for those who’re determined.

A Few Sorts of Mosses are Dangerously Poisonous

Now, most varieties of moss are fit for human consumption, or not less than not notably dangerous, however there are a pair varieties on the market which might actually mess you up.

A few of them include harmful toxins that they use as safety towards predators that may eat them, and others are recognized to be by the way harmful to people due to excessive quantities of sure dangerous compounds.

We’ll discuss a bit of bit extra about these intimately later, however for now, all you could know is that you could deal with moss such as you would every other edible, foraged plant: it’s crucial that you already know precisely what you’re coping with.

Enjoying the chances may make a foul scenario even worse for those who’re in a survival scenario, and it’s not out of the query you can wind up lifeless.

For those who’re actually in a jam, bear in mind to carry out the common area edibility take a look at earlier than you dig in. It might save your life!

Lichens are Additionally Edible

One thing else it’s best to take into account whilst you’re as regards to moss is that many sorts of lichen are edible too.

Although usually confused, lichens are utterly distinct, taxonomically, from moss, however the two are sometimes discovered rising in the identical environments and even proper alongside one another.

Lichens are totally different from moss as a result of they’re principally colonies of symbiotic organisms, usually fungi and sure sorts of micro organism or algae. One offers shelter for the opposite, and the 2 may even commerce sorts of meals for the mutual good thing about each. They are surely fascinating!

I don’t deliver this as much as derail our vital dialog about moss, correct, however to make you conscious of what assets you’re more likely to discover whereas on the lookout for moss. And there’s one other crucial cause why that we’ll speak about within the subsequent part…

Many Sorts of Lichen are Referred to as “Moss”!

To make this topic much more complicated than it must be, it’s best to know that there are many sorts of lichen which might be referred to as mosses, and I don’t imply colloquially by people who don’t know higher. “Moss” is definitely in the frequent identify of those organisms!

That’s proper: this may make monitoring down and categorizing precise mosses complicated for those who don’t have a guidebook or knowledgeable assist.

However I need to clear this up: it doesn’t matter what the vegetation is known as as long as you already know precisely what it’s and whether or not or not it’s protected. You don’t have to dig into the taxonomy and variations of moss and lichens to utilize both.

Can You Eat Uncooked Moss?

Sure, you’ll be able to, however there are some danger elements. Particularly, uncooked moss is much more more likely to harbor germs that may make you sick. Cooking your meals, as at all times, eliminates or reduces these germs and makes it safer to eat.

That stated, for those who don’t have the assets or don’t have the time, otherwise you simply desperately want one thing to fill your abdomen with, you’ll be able to eat most forms of protected moss with out an excessive amount of fear.

Is it Finest to Cook dinner Moss?

Typically, sure, however there are nonetheless extra trade-offs to think about. Cooking moss will kill any germs, parasites, and different nasty issues that you simply don’t need to eat, however it’s going to additionally considerably cut back the already meager vitamin that moss has to give you. Particularly, it’ll lose out on nutritional vitamins and minerals which it could actually’t afford to surrender.

That stated, in case your meals scenario isn’t in complete disaster, you might have the assets to prepare dinner, and the time to do it, I like to recommend that you simply not less than prepare dinner it gently to enhance its security.

What Does Moss Style Like, Anyway?

Moss doesn’t style superb. At its very best, it tastes very grassy, vegetative, and sometimes earthy. And at its worst, it has a slimy and ashy style that’s downright repulsive, and it takes a complete lot of seasoning and knowledgeable preparation to make it even passingly palatable.

Doesn’t imply you’ll be able to’t eat it safely, but it surely does imply you’re unlikely to benefit from the expertise!

What’s the Finest Approach to Put together Moss for Consuming?

One of the simplest ways to organize any moss for consumption with out utterly spoiling its dietary content material is to soak it in recent, clear water.

Soaking it for simply 10 minutes earlier than shaking it off and giving it one closing rinse can take away a lot of the contaminants which might be on the surface and considerably enhance security.

Secure and Edible Moss Varieties

And eventually, we get to an inventory of recognized edible and nominally nutritious moss varieties that it’s best to at all times be looking out for.


Willa has a spot of honor on our listing of edible plenty each as a result of it’s a lichen, not a moss, and since it has a protracted historical past of being eaten in the USA.

Used as a staple and native delicacy, and in addition harvested en masse throughout occasions of meals scarcity, it seems to be like lengthy, stringy tumbleweeds and is commonly discovered rising excessive up in lifeless timber.

Reindeer Moss

One other noteworthy “moss,” and one other lichen in actuality. Typically grows in northern latitudes the place this can be very chilly. Named each due to its look (which has similarities to caribou antlers) and in addition as a result of it is a crucial meals for them when they’re migrating.

This one continues to be eaten right now in varied Scandinavian international locations. It’s intensely astringent and acidic and needs to be ready correctly previous to consuming to keep away from main abdomen hassle.


You guessed it. Oakmoss isn’t actually a moss. It’s a lichen. That is one other one which grows in colder areas and is often discovered on evergreen crops. Simply noticed by its mild grey or mint inexperienced coloration and tangled development behavior.

Iceland Moss

Sure, Iceland moss is definitely… a lichen. Ha, obtained ya! However jokes apart, it’s one lichen that appears very very similar to its namesake as a result of it has a low-growing, spreading, and nearly furry look. Search for it on rocks and fallen trunks.

Spanish Moss

Typically referred to as “outdated man’s beard,” that is neither a moss nor a lichen however is as an alternative a sort of flowering plant that’s invasive however naturalized to the USA.

It’s a quite common sight within the Deep South and Tidewater area of the US. Solely very small, selection bits of the plant are safely edible and palatable, but it surely’s attainable to boil it and blend in sugar or different components to make a sort of tea or syrup that has some energy and vitamins.


This lichen is native to many elements of Asia, and has a distinguished culinary historical past as an ingredient in varied spice mixes for Indian delicacies, and others. It’s simply acknowledged by its fern-like development behavior, and hanging pale green-gray to black “leaf” coloration.

Poisonous Mosses You Should Keep away from

Earlier than we get to the listing of edible mosses that it’s best to hold your eye out for, we have to speak about two actually nasty ones that you could keep away from in any respect prices. Actually toxic mosses are uncommon, however they do exist!

Powdered Sunshine

This unusual moss is definitely a lichen, and one that’s simply identifiable when it’s discovered rising on birch timber all through Europe and far of the USA and Canada.

It has a definite and sunny however vaguely ominous yellow coloration which is an apparent warning signal, and the explanation for its identify.

It has a specific toxin that may trigger extreme stomach ache and ultimately harm and failure within the liver for those who eat it. Study what it seems to be like and keep away from it, and be very cautious when gathering moss from birch timber!

Wolf Lichen

One other infamous “moss,” and clearly from the identify a lichen, these things is discovered all around the Western half of North America and a few elements of Europe. It has a ragged, nearly ruffled look and resembles a shrub that has had all of its leaves and greenery knocked off.

Traditionally, it has been employed as a poison towards canine and wolves, therefore the identify. This is because of excessive concentrations of vulpinic acid which is sort of poisonous to mammals. Study to acknowledge it by sight and steer clear!

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