What does the word Moss mean ?
Moss is a non-vascular plant, characterized by its small size and absence of true roots, stems and leaves. It's called "non-vascular" because it has no sap. It generally thrives in damp, shady environments.In ancient Greek, it is referred to as "bryophyta". "Bryo" means "moss" and "phyta" plant. This name was chosen to describe the group of non-vascular plants that includes mosses, liverworts and anthoceroses.
In the beginning…
Moss has been around for a long time, with the oldest fossil discovered dating back 400 million years! It is considered to be one of the earliest plants on earth.
Mosses evolved from ancestral green algae that managed to colonize terrestrial surfaces. At that time, our planet offered unique challenges, such as the limited availability of water and the absence of nutritious soil. To survive, mosses had to develop the ability to absorb water and nutrients through their tissues, as well as retain moisture. Over time, they learned to survive in damp, shady habitats such as forests, swamps and polar regions.
Today, there are between 12,000 and 15,000 species of moss in the world, the most widespread being peat, feather and sphagnum mosses.
DID YOU KNOW? Plant moss grows very slowly compared to other plants. Some types of moss only grow one or two centimeters a year! This means that plant moss can take decades, even centuries, to form vast moss carpets in the wild.
Nowadays, moss is recreated through olfactory accords or using synthetic molecules to minimize the impact of perfumery on the environment. However, for decades, the harvesting of moss represented a veritable organization, which we invite you to discover with us!
While moss was cultivated in many parts of the world, some areas were more renowned than others for their moss production. Scandinavia, Scotland and the British Isles are among the main moss-producing areas. These regions offer ideal conditions for moss growth, with cool, humid climates and lush green landscapes.
To plant moss, spores are dispersed on a moist, suitable support, and the right conditions of light and humidity are maintained to encourage germination and growth.
What you need to know to ensure good moss growth:
• Humidity is essential, as moss depends on water to absorb nutrients and grow. It prefers moist environments and can dehydrate easily in dry conditions. Therefore, regular watering or the presence of a constant water source is crucial to maintain adequate humidity.
• Moss generally prefers partial shade or indirect light. Direct exposure to intense sunlight can burn moss and cause it to dry out. Soft, diffused light is therefore more suitable for optimal development.
• It's essential to choose the right substrate for moss. It generally prefers soils that are acidic and rich in organic matter. They must be sufficiently permeable to allow water drainage, while retaining enough moisture to nourish the moss.
Once these conditions are in place, moss develops slowly but surely. Spores germinate and give rise to tiny filaments that gradually branch and spread, creating a dense blanket of moss. Over time, it can spread over a variety of surfaces, including the ground, rocks, tree trunks and even artificial structures.
Several methods were available for harvesting moss. For small quantities, harvesting by hand was often the most practical. This involved detaching pieces of moss by gently lifting them from the surface on which they grew. Tools such as a knife or spatula could also be used to loosen the moss from its surface. For larger harvests, however, it was more common to use a moss vacuum. These devices enabled the moss to be removed by gentle suction, minimizing damage to the plant and its environment.
Different Species of Moss
• Sphagnum: Sphagnum is one of the best-known types of plant moss. It is often found in bogs and swamps. Sphagnum has a very high water absorption capacity and is often used as a base material in plant cultivation, padding manufacture and even as an absorbent medical dressing.
• Polytric: Mosses of the Polytric genus are characterized by their tall, upright stems and serrated leaves. They are often found in damp forests and wooded areas, forming dense mats on the ground. Polytric is a resistant moss that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
• Hypnum: Hypnum is a common moss that grows on rocks, tree trunks and forest floors. It has a delicate appearance with slender, branched leaves. Hypnum is often used in Zen gardens and terrariums to create a natural, verdant look.
•Evernia prunastri: this species was the most widely used in perfumery. It grows on the branches and trunks of trees, particularly oaks, hence its common name of "oak moss". It takes the form of flat, branched fronds, from green-gray to silvery-gray in color, with a rough, leathery texture. It is best appreciated for its woody, slightly smoky scent.
What do you know about moss in perfumery?
Mosses, and oak moss in particular, were used as natural ingredients in many perfumes. However, in order to protect the environment and biodiversity, the perfume industry has developed synthetic alternatives and specific accords to avoid having to use naturally-occurring moss.
Perfumers sometimes use synthetic molecules to reproduce the woody, earthy and slightly smoky notes of natural moss. They enable them to create fragrance compositions with a natural, authentic dimension, capturing the essence of moss in a controlled, long-lasting way. These synthetic molecules offer a precise, controlled alternative to the use of natural moss in perfumery.
In addition to reproducing the scent of moss with synthetic molecules, perfumers sometimes create accords of several ingredients. To recreate the olfactory accord of moss, components such as vetiver, patchouli, cedar and seaweed can be used. Vetiver, with its earthy, woody nuances, is often used to evoke the natural scent of moss. Patchouli and cedar can add woody notes. These ingredients are combined with care and precision by perfumers to recreate the olfactory accord of moss, ensuring that they harmonize and complement each other to achieve the desired result. The aim is to create an olfactory impression that evokes the presence of moss, while offering a pleasant and interesting fragrance experience.
INTERESTING FACT !
Moss can be used in a thousand different ways. Aesthetically, it lends natural beauty and elegance to a variety of environments, whether in interior design, floral arrangements or vertical gardens. Retaining moisture, it's an ideal choice for gardens and terrariums. What's more, moss also contributes to acoustic insulation, reducing echoes and improving the acoustics of interior spaces thanks to its porous structure. It can play a role in air purification by filtering particles and eliminating toxins. Finally, it promotes biodiversity by providing a habitat for a variety of species, and contributes to soil preservation by preventing erosion.
UNUSUAL FACT ! Moss has a truly astounding absorption capacity, absorbing up to 20 times its own weight in water! This absorption capacity enables it to retain water for long periods, making it an excellent material for conserving moisture in dry environments
Some popular moss perfumes...
As you may have guessed, moss plays an important role in perfumery. Some famous fragrances contain it in their green and earthy composition, whether natural or synthetically produced. Popular fragrances with moss as an ingredient include:
• Monsieur Rochas Eau de Cologne by Rochas offers a breath of fresh citrus and floral notes, intertwined with the grounding blend of oakmoss, myrrh, and patchouli. These base notes provide a earthy blend that complements the lively and invigorating composition.
• Mitsouko eau de parfum by Guerlain. Launched over a century ago, this perfume opens with fresh, fruity top notes of lemon, notes of bergamot, jasmine and rose, before melting into a heart of lilac, peach and ylang-ylang. The warm, woody base is dominated by cinnamon, to which amber, vetiver and oakmoss are added.
• Light Blue pour Homme by Dolce & Gabbana captures the seductive spirit of the Latin lover with notes of Sicilian mandarin, the aroma of bergamot, Sichuan pepper and oakmoss. Modern, elegant and sensual, this perfume embodies the irresistible charm of the Dolce & Gabbana man, offering a sophisticated, clean and reviving olfactory experience.
• Acqua Di Scandola, by Parfum d’Empire, is a tribute to Corsica. Its iodized, mineral and aromatic notes evoke Mediterranean nature. Lemon, raspberry, oakmoss and patchouli combine to create an unforgettable vibrant and refreshing trail.
Now that you know all about moss in perfumery, don't hesitate to visit our website to find out more about other ingredients, or come and see us in store!