Schistostega pennata Weber & D. Mohr, 1803 — Overview

Luminous Moss learn more about names for this taxon


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For the 1992 Japanese film, see Luminous Moss (film).

Schistostega pennata, also called goblin's gold or luminous moss or luminescent moss,[1] is a moss known for its glowing appearance in dark places. It is the only member of the family Schistostegaceae. The moss's greenish-gold glowing appearance is due to the clear, spherical cells in the protonema that can collect even the faintest light like lenses, and the chloroplasts nearby in turn give off the greenish glow from the reflected light.[2]

It is easily outcompeted by other mosses and plant species in open lighter areas, but its ability to reflect light allows it to grow in shady places that other plants cannot survive. It prefers damp mineral soils with a source of dim light, such as reflection from a pool, overturned tree roots, and entrances to animal burrows.

S. pennata is found in China, Japan, Siberia, Europe, and North America.[3]


  1. ^ USDA Forest Service, Gotchen Risk Reduction and Restoration Project
  2. ^ "Schistostega pennata". Reference Desk of the Washington Natural Heritage Program.
    Japanese Botanic Garden
  3. ^ "Schistostega pennata". Moss Flora of China.


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