Sphagnum Moss

Bryophytes

Description

Sphagnum mosses are the amazingly multi-coloured living carpets found in wet places like peat bogs, marshland, heath and moorland. When seen up close, they are very beautiful, but they also play a very important role in the creation of peat bogs: they hold water in their spongy forms long after the surrounding soil has dried out. In this way, they provide essential nutrients to the soil and help to prevent the decay of organic matter which gets compressed over hundreds of years to form peat.

There are at least ten species of Sphagnum moss in the UK, which are very difficult to tell apart. These species range in colour from red and pink, to orange and green. Sphagnum mosses are very small, but they grow together in close proximity forming spongy carpets; 'hummocks' are created when the mosses grow together to form mounds up to a metre high.

Spahgnum Moss.  Photograph by Tim Walter.

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Did you know?...

The Meres and Mosses landscape was formed by retreating glaciers 12,000 years ago. Now, lowland raised peat bogs are one of the most endangered habitats on Earth.



What's going on?

News

12
jul

Where wetter is better.

Celebrating International Bog Day

20
jun

Plans for bird hide at Morris's Bridge

The fields adjacent to Morris's Bridge have become an important site for a variety of bird species.

Get involved

Events

30
aug

Moth Trapping and photography workshop

An activity over two days which will show you how to trap and identify the various moths living on the Marches Mosses.

07
sep

Late Season Dragonfly Walk

Another chance to see how the dragonfly population have been affected by the changing seasons.