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How the Moss got its name
Have you ever wondered how the Christmas Moss got its name?
Well, not to sound boastful, but yours truly has got a lot to do with it.
About 3 years ago, the moss made its first appearance here in Singapore.
At that time, only one fish shop has this plant and it wasn't for sale. They
would sell it to you only if you buy the whole setup from them.
Their smallest tank costs in the region of several thousand dollars so very
few hobbyists were willing to pay that kind of money just to get some of their
moss. Well, some people would I suppose, but definitely not yours truly.
Anyway, when I first saw the moss, it became my goal to get my hands on
some. I tried asking several of my friends who are fish shop owners and
aquatic plant import/exporters. But none of them could help me. It seems
that the fish shop who has the moss brought it in themselves directly from
At that time, the moss was more commonly known as the Taiwan moss or
Triangular moss. But I wasn't aware of the names then and whenever I wanted
to talk about that moss, I would say the beautiful moss in that "so and so"
One day, I met a friend, a fellow hobbyist and I asked him if he knows
how I can get some of the moss. He wasn't quite sure which moss I was
referring to until I mentioned the shop's name. And he said: "Oh, you mean
the moss that looks like a Christmas Tree".
Well, I thought he was quite right. It does look like a Christmas Tree with
their triangular shaped fronds hanging down. So, that became the name I gave
to the moss - Christmas Moss.
A few months after our conversation, having given up hope that I would ever
get any Christmas Moss, I bought a bunch of Java Moss from my favourite fish
shop. I brought it home and was tying them to a piece of drifwood when I
a strange looking frond among them. On closer examination, I realised that
what I had in my
hands was the moss I was trying to get for months. It was the Christmas
when I went through the rest of the bunch, I found another 3 fronds.
That was how I started, with just 4 fronds. Over the last 3 years or so, I
given away several kilograms worth. They grow in all my tanks. I grow them
emmersed too in my terrarium. Strangely, it's still not easily available
and one aquatic plant farm owner even offered to buy up all my moss a few
ago. Looking back, I'm glad I turned down his offer.
Questions about the Moss have popped up now and then on this mailing
list. And whenever someone asked about the name, I would always tell them that
it's known as Christmas Moss in Singapore. I believe I must have helped to
popularise the name. The pubisher of the now defunct Aqua Journal and
a close friend of mine, asked me about the moss when he included an article
about mosses in his magazine a few years ago. He thought the correct name was
Amazonia Willow moss but I told him I like to call it Christmas Moss and
appeared in the article in volume 38 of the Aqua Journal. I guess that
gave the name
Actually, since nobody is quite sure of its name, you can call it
whatever you like. I used to joke that if you have a girlfriend named Kate,
call it after her. You know, just like the supermodel :)
But in the last few days, from the numerous emails that I have been
receiving, maybe it's time the moss gets a new name - Defense Moss.
I have already packed and will be sending out all the mosses that I have
harvested from all my tanks other than the main one where I have the moss wall.
In other words, the wall still stands. But I'm prepared to take it down if
more requests come along. So please, give a little to the fund and then
write me for your free moss. I kind of like the idea that maybe for the
first time in history, rather than one being built for defense, a wall is
Loh K L