Bryophytes (Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts) •

Contorted Sphagnum

(Sphagnum contortum)



Sphagnum is a genus of approximately 380 accepted species of mosses, commonly known as peat moss. Accumulations of Sphagnum can store water, since both living and dead plants can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; plants may hold 16–26 times as much water as their dry weight, depending on the species. The empty cells help retain water in drier conditions. A medium-sized species. Found as small stands or scattered stems. Well-illuminated plants are characteristically pale orangey-brown or ochreous, but can be yellowishgreen or green-brown. The branches are curved when viewed from above, with leaves that stick out away from the branch stems. Branch leaves have the upper half distinctly turned to one side, often appearing narrow owing to inrolled margins. Stems are pale, similar in colour to the leaves, never dark or black, though they can appear darker owing to staining when growing in swampy ground. A very narrow, pale stem cortex is visible at -10. Stem leaves are triangular, about half the length of the branch leaves. Capsules have not been recorded in Britain or Ireland  

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Bryophyta
Class: Sphagnopsida
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