Sphagnum mosses

Below are some of the distinctive characteristics of Sphagnum mosses:

  • Each individual plant has a stem, branches (spreading and pendant) and a compact cluster of new branches called a ‘capitulum’.
  • All new growth occurs from the capitulum at the top of the plant.
  • Occasionally a plant may split and a second capitulum grows.

  • Groups of branches leave the stem at the same point – this is called a fascicle.
  • The stem and branches are covered in small leaves – visible with a hand lens.
  • On some species these leaves point upwards and on others they point down.
  • They also vary in shape between species.

  • All Sphagnum species share the same basic structure.
  • Some species are skinny while some are chunky – chunky species hold the most water.
  • Wide variety of colour between species and even within species!
  • Colour varies with growing conditions – plants in shade often greener even in same patch.
  • May become bleached in dry weather.
  • Often found growing with other mosses.




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