Did you know that Norway is a worldwide supplier of a natural material central to crafts and interior décor projects around the world?
The botanical name of the plant is Cladonia Stellaris, but it is popularly known as Norwegian reindeer moss (technically, a lichen). One company reports selling 32,000 square meters of the moss in 2016, with 85% being exported from Rendalen to locales in South Korea, Italy, the United States and beyond.
Harvested largely from Norway’s vast Eastern valleys, the moss can be used in a variety of applications for crafts and home décor. From model train displays and terrariums, to framed wall art and vertical gardens, the moss is used to bring the outdoors inside and to evoke a fresh, natural and calming feel. The moss is sometimes tinted to blend with a home or businesses’ interior, with colors such as pacific green, sienna and burgundy comprising the palette of available colors. The processed moss is widely available from online and retail outlets.
Reindeer moss grows in lush mats over large areas of the ground. It is slow-growing and sustainably harvested by hand to minimize impact on the local environment and forest animals. The moss is specially treated to maintain softness, and manufacturers keep inventory in cool, climate controlled storage. The moss is often treated with preservatives to ensure fire resistance.
More than just a pretty plant
Long before reindeer moss was used for decorative purposes, it sustained the reindeer population, which is how the lichen’s name originated. It is also reported that during World War II, Norwegian resistance forces survived by eating reindeer moss when enduring long periods of time in the snow-covered wilderness. Although containing a good bit of vitamin C, the lichen was barely palatable. It was either dug up and cooked with fire ash or retrieved from the bellies of dead reindeer to be cooked and re-consumed by the resistance fighters.
Whether to feed reindeer, beautify homes or sustain outdoor survivalists, Norwegian reindeer moss has proven to be a unique and useful national asset!