What is Reindeer Moss and where does it come from?
Its habitat is confined to the boreal and artic regions in Northern Scandinavia and Russia, where the reindeer moss grows naturally as a floor covering vegetation. Although referred to as a moss, in actual fact it is a type of lichen. During the winter months in Lapland is it covered by snow, but the Reindeer can smell its presence and it supplements their dietary needs. Its generic name is Cladonia Stellaris.
Does the harvesting of the Reindeer Moss have an impact on the eco system?
Scandinavia is known to be one of the strictest controlled environmental protectorates in the world, and the harvesting of Reindeer Moss is strictly controlled. The environmental and agricultural departments of the countries sharing this geographical area, better known as Lapland, strictly control the quantity of moss that is harvested annually. For several years now, Reindeer Moss has also been successfully cultivated and the majority of moss exported, is fast becoming the norm.
Is it safe to import to South Africa and could it have any possible effect on the local flora?
After the Reindeer Moss is harvested, it is either kept in its natural colour, or submersed in an organic pigment to provide one of the beautiful colours it is available in. In addition to this, the moss is then dipped in a glycerin and saline solution to preserve it. In this state or preservation, it is safe to export to any part of the world, as it will have no impact on the surrounding flora, as it will not grow anymore. The moss comes with a phytosanitary certification to prove it conforms to the local requirements.
How long has Reindeer Moss been available in South Africa?
Nordic Moss (Pty) Ltd has been importing Reindeer Moss (Cladonia Stellaris) to South Africa since 2013
Why did we decide to bring Reindeer Moss to South Africa?
This question has a multiple level answer due to the amazing features of Reindeer Moss.
Let's start with the obvious reason first, which is the aesthetics of the product. The texture and appearance of Reindeer Moss is something magical. People are fascinated when they see it and it attracts them to want to touch it. It is soft and the dense growth of little soft branches and tentacles makes up something looking rather like a sea sponge, but then quite different. It is unusual in a good way and instinct tells you it is natural and definitely a plant.
With this inherent quality, it becomes a natural design material to use in contemporary design, where it softens the harsh tones and feel of artificial materials such as acrylic, glass and plastics. It has a natural blending characteristic with natural products such as wood, wool, linen and silk. Within the philosophy of Scandinavian Design it takes a predestined role in creating a further calming effect and texturising a sophisticated look. A rhetoric statement of involvement with nature but also indicating an understanding of the influence nature has on our psyche.
Most interior designs, especially in suburbia, requires some greenery in home whether in the stately form of architectural cacti, arching palms or leafy pot plants. The moss, whether used as a full wall mural, or patterned of sorts, loose moss scattered around the base of plants, decorating the base of glass bowls containing air plants, stuck in a little frame hanging on the wall, under the glass of your coffee table, makes for a timeless design from nature which will outlive your retro- wall paper after a few years.
Reindeer Moss has one of the highest acoustic dampening coefficients in nature, known to man. This can be utilised intelligently in spaces where sounds waves seem to bounce off indefinitely to create noisy dining rooms, often found in contemporary restaurant designs. Recording and music studios don’t have to look like a giant egg box anymore. Specific areas in a home are notorious for echoing such as bathrooms and staircases, and here the moss has an unprecedented role to play.
How do I ensure the longevity the Reindeer Moss?
Although the moss has been preserved, it still needs moisture to sustain its wonderful soft texture, which can easily be provided by a misting bottle. In some humid climates of South Africa it might not need any misting for several months, depending the temperature of its environment. We also recommend that the moss be applied in areas where direct sunlight is limited.
A slight misting with a spray bottle is all it needs once in a while. The moss will feel cool to the touch as humidity is evaporating from the plant, and this is a good indication that it has enough humidity.
This is one of its many features, that it is very low maintenance and it does not require any form of water supply. The amount of moisture is so low, that it will not create any damp problems in-house.
Do I have to clean it?
We do not recommend touching the moss. It is anti-static and dust will not stick to it. Due to its nature, the moss will be damaged when not handled with care. If you really want to clean the moss, a very soft brush or a very gentle vacuum will suffice.
Will the colour fade?
The plant has been submersed in an organic pigment and it has sucked up the pigment into the plant to ensure that the colour is permanent. As the plant has been dipped, the external surface area of the plant will tend to cause some colouring when touched. After a few weeks, this will disappear.
As it is a natural product, it will show a slight variation in the brightness of the colour with time. The depth and natural variation of the colour in the plant will stay and it will always look very natural.
Can it handle wear & tear?
It is a plant, a delicate moss plant. As is also the case with other indoor plants, it should be handled with care. At best, it should be left untouched, although touching with a flat hand is perfectly fine.
We do not recommend applying it on surfaces where young children or public spaces with heavy traffic of people. Due to its soft texture and appeal, we find that people are inclined to pull small pieces off. Should it get damaged in this way, it can be fixed by replacing the open spaces with loose moss again.
When the moss is used for wall cladding in public spaces it is recommended that it is applied to surfaces where direct touch is restricted, e.g. behind the concierge desk or where water or stone features will provide some protection. A beautiful alternative is suspending the moss from the ceiling, e.g. spheres covered in moss. With this method of application, the moss still provides the design features and texture and also assist with the acoustic characteristic of the space.
Will it grow on my wall and how do I control it?
Reindeer Moss’ natural habitat is within the confines of the Polar Circle, that is above the 66° northern latitude, which stretches along the northern areas of Scandinavia and Russia. Therefore, it will not grow in a warmer climate such as South Africa.
Another reason we could not import Reindeer Moss as a 100% living plant, is due to the strict Fauna and Flora regulations in South Africa. Therefore, the moss is semi-preserved in a mixture of glycerin and saline solution and in this state it only needs humidity to keep it soft texture. Due to the evaporation taking place on warmer days, the moss will feel cool to touch and will have a cooling effect on its environment. It is ‘breathing’ moisture and should be kept in a reasonable moist environment (40% humidity minimum) whether due to natural humidity in the air, or actively humiditize the it once in a while.
Due to this preserved state, the Reindeer Moss will not ‘grow’ anymore, but will also not ‘die’. It therefore needs very little maintenance other than perhaps some misting when the moss becomes a little harder to touch. Should you go on holiday for a few months, it will be still the same when you come back.
Even though the Reindeer Moss is not in its natural ‘living’ condition, it looks and feels as if it is. It is an alternative to a high maintenance wall garden, but often is also used in combination with natural plants to create a more delicate look.
How easy is it to fix the Reindeer Moss to my wall?
We will make recommendations to your specific situation. Often a 3mm shutter board, which is treated for damp, is fixed to the selected wall by drilling a few holes and using plugs and screws. The moss-tiles are then simply stapled to the board with a staple gun by stapling the corners of the tiles to the wooden board. Due to the natural overlap of the moss on the edges of the tiles, when the tiles are mounted edge to edge, the tiles will form a beautiful continuous moss wall in matter of minutes.
What can I do with the loose Reindeer Moss?
The loose moss provides the opportunity to the person with a creative mind and who enjoys doing a bit of crafting.
The pieces of moss, varying in size and length can be glued to surfaces such as wood, plastic, material or any geometrical shape made out of polystyrene. We will assist you in the selection of glue to use and even share some creative ideas with you.
The possibilities are endless due to the texture and organic touch it gives, and the palette of colours, which we can provide to you.
Will Reindeer Moss fit my style or interior design?
If you have a palace with a Louis XIV style, then maybe this is only for the Orangerie.
It is difficult to imagine a space that will not come ‘alive’ with plants or some kind of foliage or texture. Whether you prefer classical interiors, cottage-feel or contemporary, Reindeer Moss will give you the extra edge in toning your design, whether it via texture or colour, or even a combination of both.
10 Good Reasons why you should have Reindeer Moss?
- - It is very cool! Not only does it look amazing, the soft texture and beautiful colours will add panache to any design whether in your house or office
- - It is a conversation starter! Everyone who sees it, will want to know what it is and touch it. It’s the next best thing to a puppy, but yet with no maintenance.
- - It is versatile! Whether you display it in our beautiful glass bowls with an air-plant or candle, around the base of your bonsai, on a piece of wood with tea-lights, straight onto your dining room table with candles (think Christmas here), glued onto any polystyrene shape and suspend from the ceiling, cladded your wall to create an amazing feature, and so it goes on..
- - It shows your talent for interior design! It softens and combines contemporary materials and furniture and harmonizes and brings together all the ‘loose’ items.
- - It gives you a garden in your house, without the need for maintenance and green fingers!
- - It gives you a magical and relaxed ambiance. It has shown to relieve stress when used on the dividers in call centers and other high stressed environments.
- - It gives you amazing acoustic dampening, whether in echoing areas or sound studios/music rooms. It is an ideal material to utilize in solving the acoustic problems often encountered in restaurants and public areas.
- - It provides a very creative and organic material to utilize in your own designs, e.g. attaching moss to lampshades, bed-boards, spheres/squares in different sizes suspending from the ceiling, cutting-edge couture etc.
- - It will not go out of fashion as your retro-wallpaper will do in a few years. It is a plant and plants are timeless.
- - It will make you the favourite mum or dad with the kids! Which child is not fascinated with Father Christmas & his reindeers? It comes from the area where his village is and it is the food his reindeer eat!
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