Reindeer moss is a low-growing plant only a few centimeters
tall. It does not flower but does produce bright red reproductive
Habitat and Distribution
Look for this lichen in open, dry areas. It is very common
in much of North America.
The entire plant is edible but has a crunchy, brittle texture.
Soak the plant in water with some wood ashes to remove the bitterness,
then dry, crush, and add it to milk or to other food.
Reindeer moss or reindeer lichen have been used to thicken
soups and to make bread. However, they are only partially digestible
by humans, so don't eat too much.
Eskimos preferred to eat them after they were half-digested
by reindeer or caribou, but you have to kill the animal and cut
open its stomach for that treat.