Marimo Moss Balls
These adorable, soft velvety little guys are actually a rare form of freshwater algae. Legend has it, they will bring you love, luck and happiness. They are slow growing, averaging around 5mm per year and require only low levels of light. Very easy to care for, simply change their water every 1-2 weeks and do not expose to direct sunlight, no fertilizer needed. Pet or rotate them regularly so that they are evenly exposed to light. During photosynthesis, they produce tiny pearls of oxygen which allows them to float around. Properly cared for, they can live for decades.
They are mostly found in a small number of lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. They were first discovered in the 1820s in Austria. In 1898 they were named "Marimo" by a Japanese botanist, meaning bouncy play ball water plant, or ball of seaweed. Previously known as Cladophora aegagropila, they have been reclassified as Aegagropila linnaei.
In Japan, they are considered a national treasure and a three day festival is held each year to celebrate them. Japanese folklore believes that the marimo represents love. According to the legend, about 100 years ago, the young tribal chief's daughter ran away with her lover because their love was forbidden. When they reached Lake Akan their spirits turned into marimos, a plant of love, in the deepest reaches of the lake where they lived happily ever after.