Schistostega pennata (Goblin Gold) - A luminous moss

Goblin Gold

goblins-gold2A glow in the dark plant? Surly this is the stuff of science fiction, but it is real!  Schistostega pennata, also know as Goblins gold, or luminescent moss, is the only member of its family.

 

Location

This luminescent moss can be uncovered in dark places anywhere in the northern hemisphere.  North America, Europe, and Japan are the most common places in which this moss as been found.

 

 

 

History

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Goblins gold acquired its name by how it tricks humans into believing that it is treasure stashed away in dark places such as caves and crevasses.  Outside, a passerby would notice what looked like the green light of emeralds shining in the darkness of a hole or cave.  This was believed to be the treasure stashed away by goblins!  The finder of the treasure would then enter the cave to claim their riches, but there was nothing to be found.  The treasure simply vanished!

 

 

 

 

 

How it Works

goblins-gold4So how does this crazy moss manage to glow in the dark, and then vanish when someone tries to investigate?  The ability lies within how it collects light for photosynthesis.  Goblins gold is out-competed by other mosses, so it has had to adapt to being in darker areas.  It has developed a unique lens that can focus light, allowing it to collect the light it needs to survive.  The light in the green spectrum is bounced back straight out of the lens, giving it a green glow at a certain angle.  If you view the moss from a different angle, then you no longer see the light being bounced straight back at you and the moss looks like any other plant!