Moss Stage - Xerarch
The accumulation of soil, particularly in the crevices and depressions of rock favours the growth of certain xerophytic mosses, e.g., species of Polytrichum, Tortula and Grimmia. The spores of these mosses are brought by the blowing wind. They have more or less the same power of withstanding desiccation as that of foliose lichens.
The lichens and mosses grow together and compete 'with one another. The rhizoids of mosses and foliose lichens compete for water and nutrients, and the stems of the former attain greater height than the latter. The plants in the lower strata, i.e., the lichens die, and the mosses grow. The mosses form cushion-like structure that may be a few centimetres in thickness. The substratum is thus gradually built up and is widened. The foliose lichens gradually give way to mosses that overtop the lichens. Many times, all three stages may be found on a single rock surface, the pioneers occupying the most exposed places.