Sphagnum cuspidatum

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Identification notes

S. cuspidatum is the classic ‘drowned kitten’ moss of bog pools and wet ditches, where its long, flaccid narrow leaves resemble green ‘fur’ and give it a look shared only by the much rarer S. majus.

One of the rites of passage for an aspiring bryologist is to be fooled by the terrestrial form of S. cuspidatum, which is quite common in drier places. That it looks very much like S. fallax is unsurprising since they are closely related. The terrestrial form is more able to support itself out of water than typical S. cuspidatum but a check of the spreading branches will confirm its exceptionally long and narrow branch leaves. Also, the pendent branches of S. cuspidatum are not as well defined than those of S. fallax and other S. recurvum agg. segregates and its capitula lack the twinned juvenile branches of those species.

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Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland

View distribution from the BBS Atlas 2014

Resources you may find useful

There are several publications and keys dedicated to the Sphagna of Britain and Europe. The most recent of these are listed on the Bryophyte identification page under Resources.

Bryophyte identification resources

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