Reindeer Moss Sustainably Picked

Reindeer Moss is a carpet-forming lichen growing freely and abundantly in boreal and arctic regions around the circumpolar north. It is found primarily in areas of alpine tundra and is extremely cold-hardy.

The lichen has been used by Scandinavians in a wide variety of areas, including as a filling material in wooden huts, as an ingredient in soups and desserts, and in Christmas decoration. It is also used in the creation of dyes, in the manufacture of litmus paper, and is the primary lichen used for miniature trees in architecture and railway modelling.

In 2014, the founders of Nordgröna, then students at Lund University in Sweden, discovered the lichen’s outstanding ability to absorb sound. This led to a creation of a new product combining modern demands with a traditional material. Sound absorbers made from natural Reindeer Moss are now used in office and public spaces worldwide.

Hand-picked with Care for Nature

Our Reindeer Moss is picked by hand, following strict rules in terms of environment and sustainability across an area of about 15.000 km² (5800 mi²). The lichen is picked in a checkerboard pattern, and only from parts above a specified length in order to allow for the best possible conditions for regrowth. No more than 20% of the amount is picked at a time, and the area is not revisited again for at least 4-5 years. The lichen grows the fastest during the Spring period, and is not collected during the Winter period during which the ground is covered in snow.

Picking lichen requires a governmental permit and approval of landowners, which include forestry companies,  municipalities, and private individuals. The collection of lichen maintains employment for rural communities, and is a requirement in some forest areas where overgrowth of the lichen inhibits propagation of plants and animals. The picking of the lichen is subject to a rigorous review (ISO 9001) conducted every 3 years and encompasses all company activities.

Creating your Nordgröna Product

After having been picked, the lichen is heat-treated for 18 hours to prevent further growth or change in appearance. After a preservation and colour treatment, the lichen is no longer alive and does not require any maintenance or water or sunlight. It does not attract dust or insects, and is hypoallergenic. The lichen will retain its shape, colour and texture.

All our products are handmade by us in Arlöv, in the South of Sweden. Each product is manufactured by one of our trained specialists, and checked to ensure it meets our high quality standards. Product development is conducted in-house to ensure the best possible design and selection of materials. The products use renewable material where possible, are fully recyclable, and yet built to last a lifetime - good news for the environment.

Interesting Facts

  • It is estimated that 6% of Earth’s land surface is covered by lichens!
  • Reindeer Moss is not a plant, nor an animal. It is actually a symbiosis between fungi and algae.
  • Other common names are deer moss and caribou moss, however these names may be misleading since it is actually a lichen, not a moss.
  • The lichen can cover immense areas, and as the common names suggest, serve as pasture for reindeer, moose, caribou and musk oxen in their winter habitats. Reindeer Moss contains high amounts of carbohydrates and vitamins A and B, and is low on protein. The usnic acid content helps Reindeer to break down fat reserves during the winter months. Reindeer in the area in which our lichen is collected from are rare as their habitats are further up north. Although we occasionally do find a little poop in our harvest!
  • As an adaptation for life in tough environments, lichens produce a wide array of biochemical compounds which serve to repel herbivores, kill microbes, and discourage competition for plants. Recent medical research has shown promise in Reindeer moss hindering the ability of cancerous cancer cells to reproduce, as well as in the development of new types of antibiotics.
  • For humans, the high acidic content of lichens can cause an upset stomach if it is not well cooked. It is possible to eat Reindeer Moss after draining out the acids.
  • Lichens do not have roots and absorb water and mineral nutrients from the air. This also makes lichen sensitive to pollutants – they only grow where air quality is high.
  • Your Nordgröna Reindeer Moss panel can also be used as a humidity-indicator. A hard lichen indicates a relative humidity level of 40% or below, and a very soft lichen a level of 60% or above. The RH range of 40-60% is within the human comfort zone.