Magical Mossy Maples

It's the season of the Moss in the Pacific rain forest

Rolling stones gather no moss, but trees sure do. Now is the best time to see the display of aerial gardens in the Pacific rain forest. These epiphytic plants  hang from the trunks and branches of trees in a display that may only be rivalled by the Fangorn Forest itself.

Especially cloaked in the temperate rain forest are the Big leaf maples.

The climate is mild enough that there are plants growing year round here. Some species thrive in the mild winter temperatures. Included in this category would be a wide variety of mosses and some ferns.

Moss-dripped trees are reminiscent of Tolkien's Fangorn Forest.

During summer droughts moss goes into stasis until relieved by fall rains. Then through the slide
toward the shortest day of the year the moss gains a robust, puffy green that is best enjoyed this time of year.

Big leaf maple also has an association with the epiphytic licorice fern.

The association between moss and the maple trees is mutually beneficial for both. Nature is expert at ensuring such win-win interactions between species.

The moss gets a scaffolding on which to grow and thrive. These "air plants" are able to absorb water and nutrients from the atmosphere, rain, and bits of forest debris. What does the tree derive from this symbiotic relationship?

The Big leaf maple has the ability to grow "canopy roots" from the tops of their branches up into the rafts of moss, thus gaining water and nutrients from them.

Just like in Tolkien's Middle Earth forest, there is magic at work in this world's Pacific rain forest.

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