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Gathering Moss A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Rose Kimmerer

Many people are familiar with Ms. Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass, another must read. My first experience with her writing, however, is Gathering Moss.

This is a lush book full of stories and science, science told through stories. While I appreciate moss, I didn’t know much about them until this book. Exploring trails and climbing rocks, I have seen a wide variety but honestly didn’t give them the time they deserve. Ms. Kimmerer gives them time.

As I read the book, I felt as if we were walking together and getting a history and science lesson while enjoying time in nature. Did you know the health of a forest can be seen by the amount of moss in it? Did you know that mosses are extremely slow growers and can’t grow just anywhere? Did you know that moss can dehydrate and then “come back to life?” Did you know they can be found in a wide variety of environments? Did you know that harvesting mosses can prevent their regrowth in that area?

Robin Rose Kimmerer has created a primer for nature lovers, botany students, plant enthusiasts, and the person who says “I wonder.” Mosses are the beings to learn from and she shows us how. I highly recommend this book.

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