Sphagnum moss


Carnivorous Plant Addict
Hey all, hopefully this is the right spot to post this...
I was looking around some forests near Orangeville, ON, and stumbled upon a large patch of sphagnum moss. There seemed to have been two different types. One type was smaller and the more typical type you come across, and the other was like big and fluffy. I was hoping someone could give me an ID if there are even different types of sphagnum moss. Oh and the fluffy one was wayyy more abundant. Thanks!
Also any tips on growing these would be greatly appreciated. I always seem to get black tips for some reason. Thanks!

steve booth

There are about 380 species of Sphagnum, many of which resemble each other very closely. I'm not good enough to be able to tell you what it is, other than it is Sphagnum, but there must be a Sphagnum ID site out there or someone on this forum may be an expert.
Best of luck with it.



Carnivorous Plant Addict
Thanks! The fact that i found it in a forest in southern ontario, not even a bog type area, just a forest is odd. So i think its probably one of the most hardy and most abundant types. Hopefully these details help someone with ID for me. Thanks!


Unfortunately it is not possible to reliably ID Sphagnum mosses just by looking at them or at a photo. There are few experts who can use macroscopic features to make educated guesses in the field, but they still use a hand lens to look at tiny differences. Maybe it is possible if you provide some scaled close-ups showing the leaves of the stem and the branches and -if possible- cross sections of the leaves. Sometimes it is necessary to stain the cells to see the pores under the microscope. Maybe check this (unreliable) macroskopic key of 36 East Canadian species (6MB pdf) or this microscopic key of N-American species to get an idea what you ask for. I could guess that your first (large) species may or may not be S.squarrosum. The other may or may not be from sect. Acutifolia.
There are many species, some very specialised. Quite a few species grow in the shade in wet forests (fir/tamarack). Some grow in the mountains between rocks as long as there is enough water from clouds and rain, others grow within or at times under water. Some species grow in seeps or along creeks, other species grow only in the most oligotrophic areas of raised bogs in full sun.
Many can be cultivated as long as you keep them moist with rain water. Just put them on top of your pots with CPs growing in peat. You need to reduce evaporation or increase precipitation to avoid them getting black tips. Good luck.