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Does moss grow on the north side?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by campforums, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I remember when I was out and about in the outdoors when I was younger and being told that you could tell which direction was north by which side the moss grows on. A lot of movies and TV shows also say things like this.

    I was always kind of skeptical of this because it seemed to me the moss was growing in all sorts of directions. So out of curiosity I decided to look it up, and it looks like I wasn't wrong:

  2. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    As the article says it depends on lots of things like the prevailing wind. If the prevailing wind is a Northerner then the myth has some validity. On the other hand if the wind is going differently or there is a tendency to have shade or whatever then the myth is well more mythical. So really it's more a factor of being less than ironclad rather than completely false.
  3. ps3fanboy

    ps3fanboy Newbie

    yea i heard bear grylls say that when he was in scotland i think it was. but like the poster above me says, alot of factors go into it and i think i remember bear say this is only possible in the north of the northern hemisphere.
  4. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Either way, it isn't reliable and you aren't really any better off than guessing. I certainly wouldn't want to risk my life because of something like this.
  5. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    An educated guess is generally better then just wondering about or staying where you are. That's how people die you know.
  6. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I agree.
  7. Toxique

    Toxique Newbie

    Exactly, one false move could be your last...
  8. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    Ah, but you'd be surprised what counts as a false move. It might seem like some moves are smarter than others, but many people have died doing the right thing while others survived doing the wrong thing. So... you never know.
  9. Libragirl67

    Libragirl67 Newbie

    Do you really want to rely on moss as your guide anyway? And in nature anything is possible. And certainly do not take the word of tv shows. It is always best to take a person with you who has experience and knowledge. I love nature and taking walks. But I will not risk getting lost in unknown territory. It really can be dangerous and life threatening.
  10. AurelioLeo

    AurelioLeo Newbie

    That is not always the case about moss growth. I have seen rocks and trees have moss all the way around it's base. I wouldn't use that as a method of telling me north.
  11. CampAllDay

    CampAllDay Newbie

    I'm not sure, i'll do some research.
  12. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    You don't want to rely on anything as your sole guide. However, you also don't want to dismiss anything out of hand. There is good knowledge to be learned from what appears to be dross - you'd be surprised what facts can be gleaned from tv.

    That said you don't want to be completely depended on someone, because accidents happen as do unexpected circumstances. I've learned that the hard way, but that hasn't yet stopped me from hiking alone in unknown territory. The important thing to remember is to keep a cool head, remember to breathe, and never leave home without a map of the area along with a compass.
  13. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I have read over this whole conversation about whether moss growing on a side of the tree can point you in a northerly direction or if it is just a bunch of hype. So I went looking for answers and found this video where the guy makes some really interesting points about how the conditions in the woods can make a big difference as to whether the moss on a tree really points to the north or not.

    So check this out and come back and tell us what you think about his view on this subject.

  14. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I understand that moss grows everywhere. Rather than relying on moss I think I would be more inclined to invest in a good compass if nothing else.

    campforums likes this.
  15. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I think @Dancer, has got it right. Moss does of a way of growing where ever it is damp or moist. Our side yard is covered with moss from underground springs. So I would trust a compass or the north star more than trusting moss growing on a tree. :)
    campforums likes this.
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