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.