Heath star moss is the star among mosses of 2024

The Latvian Botanist Society has come out with another announcement on January 5 – the moss of the year 2024.

Campylopus introflexus, or the heath star moss, has been chosen as the winner this year.

The botanists have chosen this moss to draw attention to the risks of introduction of alien species. This moss' natural range covers the Southern Hemisphere: South America and southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, as well as the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific islands. In the 1940s, this moss was introduced to the British Isles and soon spread across Europe.

It was first detected in Latvia in 2005, Lithuania in 1996 and Estonia in 2007. It is considered an invasive species.

Currently, the species does not cause significant damage to natural values in Latvia, because it is mostly found in degraded areas. However, it is essential to monitor the prevalence of the species to assess its impact on local flora, especially in sea-coastal dunes and heaths. 

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