ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — If you’re ever out in the forest, you’ve likely seen moss growing on trees, rocks, and the ground. You’ve also likely heard that moss only grows on the north side of these objects.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said moss doesn’t just grow on the north side. However, you will very often see moss growing on that side.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, moss breaks down exposed elements, releasing nutrients for other plants to use. Moss also aids in soil erosion control by providing surface cover and absorbing water.

The DEC said mosses in New York State prefer a shady and damp habitat, and the north side usually gets the least sunlight. However, moss can be found just about anywhere that can provide some moisture for them for at least part of the year.