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Reindeer Moss

Reindeer Moss

Cladonia rangiferina


Reindeer moss is a low-growing plant only a few centimeters tall. It does not flower but does produce bright red reproductive structures.

Habitat and Distribution

Look for this lichen in open, dry areas. It is very common in much of North America.

Edible Parts

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.

Steve's notes:

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.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Reindeer Moss