Caribou moss, like other Arctic lichens, can make its own food, has strong and hardy tissues, and can survive for long periods of time without water. Caribou moss belongs to the class of lichens. These hardy species have unique adaptations, like many Arctic-dwelling organisms, to endure tough winters and survive in extreme conditions.
In addition to having the ability to make food when temperatures are low and light is limited, caribou moss may go into hibernation to reserve limited stored supplies of nutrients and water. These plants are equipped with tough, fibrous tissues that act as rain jackets by sealing out wind, rain and the cold. Following a period of dormancy, caribou moss may come back to life to reproduce and regrow.