For the 1992 Japanese film, see Luminous Moss (film).
Luminous moss photographed in Japan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Bryopsida
Subclass: Dicranidae
Order: Dicranales
Family: Schistostegaceae
Genus: Schistostega
D. Mohr
Species: S. pennata
Binomial name
Schistostega pennata
(Hedw.) F.Weber & D.Mohr

Schistostega pennata, also called goblin gold,[1] luminous moss[1] or luminescent moss,[2] is a moss known for its glowing appearance in dark places. It is the only member of the family Schistostegaceae. The moss's greenish-gold glowing appearance is due to the clear, spherical cells in the protonema that can collect even the faintest light like lenses, and the chloroplasts nearby in turn give off the greenish glow from the reflected light.[3]

It is easily outcompeted by other mosses and plant species in open lighter areas, but its ability to reflect light allows it to grow in shady places that other plants cannot survive. It prefers damp mineral soils with a source of dim light, such as reflection from a pool, overturned tree roots, and entrances to animal burrows.

Schistostega pennata is found in China, Japan, Siberia, Europe, and North America.[4]


  1. 1 2 Edwards, Sean R. (2012). English Names for British Bryophytes. British Bryological Society Special Volume. 5 (4 ed.). Wootton, Northampton: British Bryological Society. ISBN 978-0-9561310-2-7. ISSN 0268-8034.
  2. USDA Forest Service, Gotchen Risk Reduction and Restoration Project
  3. "Schistostega pennata". Reference Desk of the Washington Natural Heritage Program.
    Japanese Botanic Garden
  4. "Schistostega pennata". Moss Flora of China.
Wikispecies has information related to: Schistostega pennata
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