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Goblin's Gold on The Sandstone Ridge

moss upton cave

We most recently mentioned Goblin's Gold in our Heritage Story concerning Upton's Cave, Frodsham.

The official name for this luminous moss is 'Schistostega pennata'.

Without being overly technical, the moss has adapted to grow in low light conditions by utilizing spherical cells in the protonema that act as lenses, collecting and concentrating even the faintest light.

The scattered, frond-like shoots of this unique moss emerge from the protonema that has refractive, lens-like cells causing the plant to shine like cats' eyes.

The shoots are like tiny palm fronds up to 1.5 cm long, with 2 opposing ranks of nerveless leaves.

The chloroplasts absorb the useful wavelengths of the light and reflect back the remainder towards the light source, giving the moss a greenish-gold glow.

The ability to concentrate the available light allows Goblin's Gold to grow in shady places where other plants cannot survive. It prefers damp, but not too wet, mineral soils with a source of dim light, such as reflection from a pool of water, and so grows in habitats such as overturned tree roots, entrances to animal burrows and caves.

To read more about Goblin's Gold in our recent article CLICK HERE.

Our thanks to one of our Sandstone Ridge Volunteers who captured this image of Goblin's Gold in Upton's Cave Frodsham.

Should you be thinking about entering Upton's Caves at Frodsham, please be advised that there has been a substantial rock fall from the cave ceiling during lockdown. The Sandstone Ridge Trust cannot accept any responsibility for personal injury when exploring the Ridge CLICK HERE.

Click on each image to enlarge.