Tortula ruralis
Star moss


Background History

Despite not being a true aquatic moss, Tortula ruralis (Star moss) has found its way in the repertoire of moss keepers and planted aquarium hobbyists. Tortula ruralis (Star moss) was first introduced in the 2007 and is actually a terrestrial plant found in North America.

Tortula ruralis (Star moss) will survive for months without water. It thrives in dry habitats between rocks, as pathway vegetation, and in deserts. After long periods of dry gestation, when rainfall finally comes, Tortula ruralis can recuperate its cells within a matter of hours. This consumption of water will allow it to survive for months at a time without receiving water again.

Although hobbyists have taken up the common name of Star moss for Tortula ruralis, its actual common name is "cement moss".

Growth Characteristics

Tortula ruralis (Star moss) displays beautiful star-like frond structure that looks great underwater for a short time. When submerged the moss will eventually die within three months.

Tortula ruralis would be better suited for an emersed setup where it can at the very least be allowed to grow and replicate in dry conditions. It readily attaches to rocks and stones,

Aquascaping Application

Tortula ruralis (Star moss) is not suited for aquarium growth. However, for a short term layout it may be used as a foreground carpet.

A long term alternative to Tortula ruralis (Star moss) would be Fissidens fontanus.

Plant Profile
Scientific Name: Tortula ruralis
Common Name: Star moss
Difficulty: Moderate
CO2 Requirements: Very Low
Lighting Requirements: Very Low
Plant Arrangement: Foreground
Growth Rate: Very Slow
Family: Pottiaceae
Genus: Tortula
Origin: North America
Plant Type: Moss
Water Hardness: Medium (GH = 9-13 dH)