Reindeer moss isn’t a moss at all. It’s a lichen, two organisms that work together. When the right kind of fungus meets the right kind of alga, they form finely branched mounds, especially on rocks. The fungal filaments draw in minerals, and the alga turns sunshine into sugar. Although no reindeer live in Missouri, our native white-tailed deer will nibble at reindeer moss in open, rocky areas in the Ozarks.
Angie Daly Morfeld