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Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum spp.

Family: Sphagnaceae

  • found in wet and boggy areas
  • likes acidic (low pH) soil
  • generally not found growing in the woods or in water that contains lime
Sphagnum Moss
  • sometimes grows in small patches, but generally found growing in a thick, dense clump
  • moss grows so close that it forms a cushiony "bog mat" that floats on top of the water; the mat is so strong that it can support the weight of several large moose
  • roots are very shallow
  • tiny and sometimes slightly toothed
  • grow in hair-like tufts close to the stem (no higher than 4 inches)
  • usually light green, but some species have yellow, pink, deep red, or brown leaves
Sphagnum Moss
A delicate system of capillary tubes allows the moss to absorb water like a sponge. It can then be sqeezed out and used again. Dried moss catches fire easily and is therefore an excellent tinder material. However, because moss grows in wet, swampy areas, dried moss is hard to find in abundance, and it does not burn as long as some other more readily available tinder materials.

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