USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin

SPHAGNUM MOSS

(Sphagnum magellanicum Brid.)


Sphagnum moss

SPHAGNUM MOSS FAMILY (Sphagnaceae)

IND. STATUS: [OBL]

FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A robust, hummock-forming moss that is usually reddish or purplish in color, but may be pale green in the shade.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: The sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum spp.) are the characteristic species of bogs. They play an important role in keeping the bog environment acid by their production of organic acids. Sphagnum mosses are commonly known as peat moss. Approximately 20 species of Sphagnum are found in the Great Lakes Region.

Sphagnum moss has been used for many purposes including fuel, mulch, packing, bedding, and insulation. In the First World War, it was used for surgical dressings in lieu of cotton. Commercial peat mining is done in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Harvested peat moss is primarily used for horticultural purposes.

SOURCE: Crum (1976).


Previous Section -- IV.A. Open Bogs
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Wiregrass Sedge (Carex lasiocarpa Ehrh.)

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/plants/mnplant/spma.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 06:33:09 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]