I hate to admit that I adore these mystical marimo moss balls, but I do. They are equivalent to pet rock, essentially, but the story behind them makes them much more compelling (along with the fact that they roll around on their own like sentient creatures*).

I found this little guy in a vial, amongst many others, at the Palm Room in Ballard. I blame the apothecary-like setup for making the baby moss balls too cute not to buy. Egad. I picked up the chemistry glassware at Goodwill a few months ago–it’s the perfect home for baby marimo.

Fun facts: Marimo means “algae ball” in Japanese. They are a rare form of green algae native to lakes in Japan, Iceland, Scotland, and Estonia. The algal filaments can break apart and form new moss balls! Marimo regulates algal growth in fish tanks since they out-compete other algae species for nutrients. And my favorite: *marimo float, sink, and roll around as a result of photosynthetic processes (but I just pretend they are magical).

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