Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
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).