Mosses are an ancient group of plants found in moist and shady locations. Mosses are classified into three main classes, all of which are represented here in New Zealand. They are sphagnum mosses, the true mosses, and the lantern mosses.
Mosses are common in New Zealand rainforests and can carpet the forest floor where rainfall is high such as Fiordland National Park.
There are around 550 species of moss in New Zealand with one-fifth being endemic. The rate of endemism is low compared with other plants because moss can easily spread in the wind due to its lightweight spores.
The Maori used moss for filling in gaps in garments they made from flax.