Reindeer Moss, also known as Reindeer Lichen or Caribou Moss, is light colored lichen, not really a moss. It is a food for reindeer (caribou), which makes it very important to the wild. It is slow growing in hot and cold well-drained environments, and may take decades to grow back once disturbed. The grayish, whitish, or brownish extensive mats. It grows on humus or on soil covered rock mostly in taiga and tundra. It often dominates the ground in Pine forests but is a threatened species in other places. In Eastern Himalaya, it was traditionally used to treat kidney stones.
Reindeer moss is also referred to as Reindeer Lichen. It has a lighter color than most mosses. It can stand both hot and cold temperatures. This moss prefers well drained soils and environments that are wide open. This moss gets its name because reindeer loves munching on it and reindeer live in colder climates. It is a slow grower only growing around 3-5 mm per year. If this plant is overgrown or eaten too much the growth will slow down and it may take years to recover.
Reindeer Moss has extensive branches and each one will be seen divided into three or more sections. They are a white or gray in color. This moss prefers to grow in humus rich soils and is seen growing primarily in the tundra areas or wetlands. This moss has many herbal uses. It has been known to decorate windows and help eliminate kidney stones. The reindeer moss is used by crushing the plant or drying it out and mixing it with other foods. This moss also helps alleviate diarrhea. If this moss is being used for medicinal purposes and is not cooked well it may cause an upset stomach. The stems of this plant are hollow that make them unique. These plants prefer water but can go long periods with no water. The colors may change to brown without water but as soon as they get water they will revive themselves.