As the sister thread of my “Mushrooms and Funghi” post, here is a sampling of lichens, mosses, ground cover, and other small plants of the many I have spent my summers writing.
I know, kind of a lot, but you know how it is - not including a favorite idea would be like leaving your kid at home when you go on vacation!
Additional Ideas (13)
Grows - on tops of rocks
Description - Hearthwile is a shrub-like green-gold lichen that grows quickly and grows back even quicker. It is often crushed and added to drinks, as its sweet, strong flavor mixes easily with other flavors. It can also be dried and brewed into a watered-down tea that can aid sleep and minor colds.
Grows - on any non-organic surface (rocks, metal, etc‚ IE not wood, corpse, etc.)
Description - A light green-gray lichen, Olduvaol is known for the fascinating patterns it leaves behind on surfaces it has grown on. It can easily etch any surface with maze-like swirls and whorls, and dies before it truly begins eating away at its home. It is sometimes placed on items and accelerated, leaving behind complex patterns that no artisan could replicate.
Grows - on rocks
Description - Otter's Ashes is a light grey lichen that spreads fairly quickly, but grows far apart. It has no scent, but if ground while fresh, it gives of a slight odor of an old kiln. If dried and ground, it can be thrown behind one's path to rid the area of one's scent, deterring tracking by creatures with a keen sense of smell. As it has the ability to literally suck the smell (or sense of smell) out of the surrounding area, a pinch can also be sniffed to avoid nausea from areas with sickening smells, such as sewers and crypts.
Grows - on rocks, bases of trees
Description - Patchworthy is a crinkly dark green lichen that has been the source of endless amusement for children, and endless joy for entertainers. If it comes in contact with any sort of heat, from fire to the touch of a body, it spontaneously combusts into showers of white sparks, with a loud crackling and spritzing sound. The sparks actually feel cold, and have no potential of starting a fire. From small pranks, such as popping a handful into one's mouth and watching everyone's jaw drop, to massive firework applications, Patchworthy is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Grows - Around trunks of trees, on low rocks, in wet areas
Description - Duggerpaw moss is a thick, tall green moss with numerous spore-stalks sprouting from its leaflets. At night, it gives of a soft but fairly bright blue glow, according to the wind. High wind causes the moss to glow brightly, while a low breeze might cause it to waver dimly. Seeing an area filled with duggerpaw moss is a magical sight, as the whole swamp seems to glow, pulsing with light and growing dim all around as the wind falters. Duggerpaw retains its glowing properties for several weeks after it is picked, and is often wrapped in bunches around sticks to make torches that need only be waved to give off light.
Grows - in bunches on tree limbs
Description - Dark grey and wispy, Sabyr's Phantom-Moss is named after the way it seems to disappear at night, blending into the shadows. It is quite unnerving to feel invisible fingers brushing over one's face as one walks through the swamp, even if one knows the source is but a hanging plant.
Grows - in large clumps on trees
Description - Night-Star Moss is an amazing plant, said to be a survivor from the age of wonders, and breathtaking to behold. Only visible during clear night skies, Night-Star Moss appears as a fine night-black moss, with points of starlight woven into its feathery leaflets. Observing it reveals that the stars appear to move within the depths of the blackness it is made of, and people who have stared into its stars for too long have sometimes been lost to its chasms, forever wandering only half-aware of their surroundings. If picked, it immediately loses its effect and crumbles into the night with small bursts of starlight. During the day, it cannot be found, and those who have tried to observe it at dawn have fallen asleep each time, waking to find it gone. It is said that this plant is a child of the lord of night himself.
Grows - around stones, on high ground, on hills
Description - Gorgon-moss is a short, grey-green moss with white tips and thick, stiff leaflets, often found growing among dark, broken stones, for reason none has been able to find of yet. If crushed and rubbed in an afflicted area, Gorgon-Moss can relieve old aches, cramps and stiffness after a period of sleep. It is said that Gorgon-Moss could once turn those frozen by the eye of a gorgon to flesh again, but that its powers were lost in the great draining.
Grows - in dry fields or forests, in moderate to direct sunlight
Description - Blueblossom-Carpet, although rare to the swamps, is quite common in fields and forests. Short and light green, the plant is relatively unassuming until bloom, when it sprouts vibrant blue flowers with white centers, covering the whole ground in a wash of color and sweet fragrance. Blueblossom is often used as a symbol of truth and hope in fables, and its flowers are often crushed to make a stunning blue dye. It can also be used as a perfume, although it takes many flowers for enough fragrance.
Grows - around trees, in shade
Description - Wendeleaf is a short, dark green plant with round shiny leaves that grow close to the ground. It gives off a strong, spicy odor if crushed, and is said to ward off evil spirits. It is often dried and burned in holy places as incense, and some folk leave bowls of dried Wendeleaf as a potpourri and as a ward against evil.
Grows - on dry ground
Description - Cauldron leaf can easily be mistaken for Wendeleaf, as it has the same round, shiny dark green leaves - however, Cauldornleaf is larger and grows taller, and has black tips on the ends of its leaves. Cauldronleaf, if eaten raw is very effective at weakening and curing fevers. It has a bitter taste, but eating a spoonful a day can greatly reduce the effects of a fever, and quell it in a matter of days.
Grows - around rocks, in mildly wet areas
Description - Snap's tears are small, bright green plants with round, bright yellow flowers. They are edible, but tasteless, and are often used as a garnish for meats and salads. They are often found growing in clumps of fours and fives.
Grows - over rocks and sloped soil
Description - Small and light brown with green veins, chortleaf is found growing close to the ground, often over rocks. The name chortleaf is usually thought to be a folk corruption of its common name, shortleaf. However, learning its uses allows one to realize the reason for its title. If dried, ground and inhaled, one will soon begin to feel a curious urge to laugh welling up from inside. Several moments later, one will most likely be in fits of laughter, to the point of pain. Depending on the amount inhaled, this laughter could last for up to an hour! There have even been stories of people laughing themselves to death after inhaling too much dried chortleaf, or chortle dander, as the powder is called. A pinch is acceptable and enjoyable, as one is able to laugh heartily and relieve stress. There has yet to be found a practical use for larger quantities of the stuff.