Frequently Asked Questions

Orbella Box Packaging (front)

Hopefully, we've answered most of your questions here, but if not please feel free to contact us.

  1. I can buy moss at any garden store. What’s unique about Orbella?

Orbella looks and grows just like normal moss, but smells great! Orbella combines living moss with a beautiful fragrance. Unlike flowers, Orbella won’t die in a week.

  1. What does Orbella smell like?

Orbella is available in three scents:

  • Patchouli, an earthy scent enjoyed throughout the centuries.
  • Linalool, a floral scent with a touch of spiciness.
  • Geraniol, a rose-like scent found in natural mosquito repellants*

* Taxa has not tested Orbella Geraniol as a mosquito repellent. Learn more here

  1. How strong is the fragrance?

You can smell Orbella’s fragrance when you are next to the terrarium, or if you rub your fingers on it. Orbella is not as strong as a scented candle. Taxa is currently working to improve the strength of Orbella’s fragrance. Every Orbella sale supports Taxa’s on-going research.

All purchases made before the end of August will be eligible for a free upgrade to the new enhanced strength strain of the moss when it's available.

You can get a stronger sense of the fragrance power by watching what happened when we showed fragrant moss (patchouli flavor) to some people in Westfield Mall.

Currently, the patchoili and linalool scents are Orbella’s strongest. Taxa will be releasing a larger range of fragrance options in the next year.

  1. How do I care for Orbella?

Orbella should stay hydrated. Orbella should live indoors and away from direct sunlight. Please review setup and care instructions here.

  1. How did Taxa create Orbella?

Orbella was created through the magic of genetic engineering. Once you purchase Orbella, you can opt into receiving emails detailing the science and technology behind Orbella. These educational emails cover topics such as:

  • Genetic Engineering 101
  • Why We Need GMOs
  • Designing DNA Constructs
  • DNA Synthesis
  • Basics of Biochemistry
  • Transformation & Selection
  • The Design-Build-Test Cycle
  • Photo-Bioreactor Design
  • Future Applications
  1. How does Taxa grow Orbella?

Orbella grows in a greenhouse in San Francisco until it is ready for shipment. Once Orbella reaches customers, it will continue to grow with proper care. Please review setup and care instructions here.

  1. Is Orbella safe?

Unlike traditional air fresheners, Orbella does not release volatile solvents, phthalates, or allergens. It's just a plant! As with any glass object, precaution should be taken to avoid dropping the terrarium. Keep it out of reach of young children.

  1. How long does Orbella last?

As a new product we have only been growing it for three months so far but it's still happy and just the same. With proper care, Orbella should last as long as you would like it to, we'll update with longer confirmed estimates once we have the data.

  1. What are the differences between Orbella Fragrant Moss and conventional air fresheners?

Orbella Fragrant Moss:

  • uses no electricity, while plug-in air fresheners use up to half a gallon of oil in electricity per year and require constant refills (costing you every month), our air freshener is powered by sunlight.
  • currently produces less fragrance than conventional air fresheners, though we are working to improve its performance.
  • has a scent is naturally produced and doesn't require eco-toxic petroleum products.
  • produces no harmful byproducts like VOC chemicals, phalates or chemicals released from burning candles.
  • lasts much longer.
  1. Is Taxa developing any other natural products?

Taxa is developing a range of novel consumer products, including glowing moss. You can read more about Taxa’s products here.

  1. Is Orbella patented?

Orbella’s patchouli variety is under a patent owned by the University of Copenhagen, and provisional patents are pending on the other scents. You cannot resell Orbella or use it commercially for any purpose. It is also against the law to purify the moss to extract essential oil.

  1. I’m interested in Orbella for a project of mine.  Can I use it?

Yes. There are many creative applications for Orbella – more than Taxa’s small team could possibly undertake. If you'd like to develop an application using Orbella, please contact us. 

  1. Where can I find more technical information about growing the moss?

 The moss species is Physcomitrella patens, the ideal pH is 6.5. Like other mosses you can add sucrose to the water, but this increases the contamination risk (we do not advise this in the orb, you will likely get mold or bacterial growth). You can also supplement with standard plant micronutrients.

  1. How do I contact Orbella customer service?

Please contact customer service here.