No, we haven’t lost our minds – this is a really important plant! Diphasiastrum issleri is an extraordinarily rare, prehistoric moss, which is found in only a few places around the world. The Lungau is one of them!
This moss is sometimes known as a ground pine or creeping cedar and belongs to the Diphasiastrum genus in the plant family Lycopodiaceae. It is confined to climates with high humidity all-year-round, except in cooler areas where, in winter, it is protected by snow cover.
There are 16 species in the genus and a number of natural hybrids, of which Diphasiastrum issleri is one. The moss is extremely rare and much-sought after by botanists.
There was a time when the spores from this plant family – known as Lycopodium – were collected. When blown into a flame, the fine powder combusts into a spectacular fireball, which made it useful in early flash photography. Lycopodium is also a significant homeopathic constitutional remedy.
That’s Lungau for you – a treasure trove of useful information!