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TAXIPHYLLUM BARBIERI

Synonyms: Vesicularia dubyana (erroneous)
Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Moss / Fern
Family: Hypnaceae
Genus: Taxiphyllum
Region: Asia
Location: Southeast Asia
Size: Infinite
Growth Rate: Slow
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Taxiphyllum barbieri also known as 'Java Moss', is quite common in the hobby. Originally found in southeast Asia, it can be found growing emersed on fallen tree trunks and rocks in moist, humid areas. This species is also often found on the banks of seasonally flooded rivers. Although hobbyists have long placed it in Vesicularia, Java moss is in in the Taxiphyllum genus. This popular, ubiquitous plant is easily found online and at local stores.

T. barbieri is quite easy to grow, tolerating and growing in a wide range of water conditions after a period of acclimatisation. Although it can tolerate temperatures up to 85F, Java moss grows more quickly and looks healthier in cooler waters of around 75F. This plant is undemanding as far as lighting is concerned, doing well in both high and low light´┐Żin high light, the plant will grow dense and lush while in low light, the plant will be darker and lankier. While CO2 and fertilization will enhance growth rates, this moss will prosper without them as well. To promote deep, healthy green color, iron fertilization with a commercial liquid fertilizer is recommended.

To attach it to rock or driftwood, spread Java moss thinly on the desired location and wrap around with fishing line or cotton thread until the moss is well secured. Afterwards, T. barbieri will grow and attach itself onto the object, forming a dark green cushion of loose or dense foliage. Branching is irregular with 2mm long 'leaves' along the stems. If not pruned regularly, it will quickly form a tangled mess of branching foliage. It is easily pruned and propagated by simply cutting off excess growth with a sharp pair of scissors. This excess growth can then be reattached to a new surface.

T. barbieri is very versatile in aquascaping. The plant lends itself well to being attached to rocks or driftwood, giving these hardscaping items an aged, timeless appearance. This moss can also be used as a foreground carpet in low light situations. The Dutch have used T. barbieri in their background moss walls for decades. The plant can even lend itself well to a topiary, since it can easily be shaped into a striking round ball with careful pruning.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.