Scorpion moss

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Scorpion moss

Scorpidium scorpioides

All plants are unique. Some plants grow upwards towards the sky, while others stay close to the ground and grow outwards.

Image: Scorpion moss

3D View: Scorpion moss
A close up of Scorpion moss shoots.

Why this species is important

Scorpion moss (scientifically named Scorpidium scorpioides) is a small plant that is usually found in wet soggy places like the edges and bottoms of Arctic lakes and ponds.  Usually dark in colour, especially if it has been growing in a sunny location, this type of moss can grow to cover very large areas.


Moss and moisture

Scorpion moss requires plenty of moisture to survive. The more water that exists, the more Scropion moss is likely to grow. As moisture disappears, so too does the moss.

Sliding the scale from left to right, see how a decrease in Scorpion moss causes moisture to evaporate and the pond to dry up.

The green represents Scorpidium scorpioides while the blue area represents moisture.

A pond surrounded by Scorpion moss, then disappearing as moisture decreases.
Less moisture
More moisture

Hooked on moss


This type of moss is also called Hooked Scorpion moss because its leaves are usually swept over to one side.  There are other hooked mosses in the Arctic, but botanists recognize this one because it is dark in colour and has characteristic plump shoots.


Moss in charge


Scorpion moss can grow into very large patches.  This mass of moss causes organic matter to build in and around Arctic ponds and lakes, providing substrates that support a transition to other, more complex, plant community types.


A moist environment


Unlike some arctic mosses, Scorpion moss requires a wet habitat to grow.  If the ponds and lakes in which it is found were to dry up, this species of moss would not survive for long.  After as little as a week of being dried out, it may not revive.