Sphagnum lindbergii

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Identification notes

A widespread moss in Scandinavia, S. lindbergii is at best locally common in Britain, mainly in mountain bogs and flushes, although found on lower ground in the very north, such as Shetland.  It is a robust species, usually an eye-catching orange-brown colour, with the branch leaves frequently arranged in 5 distinct ranks, reminiscent of S. pulchrum.

Sphagnums have a deserved reputation for being really tricky to identify in the field, but a good bryologist laughs in the face of fear and tweaks the nose of terror – this bold approach reaps instant rewards in this case.  When examining Sphagnums in the field, your first move should always be to remove the capitulum and examine the stem leaves to check their shape.  This will be an immediate giveaway – the stem leaves here expand upwards slightly to a scarily fringed, jagged leaf-tip of enlarged cells, easily visible with a hand lens.  This is nothing like the pointed leaf-tip of S. pulchrum, which also lacks such a prominent terminal bud.  S. fimbriatum has a similar stem leaf, but the plant is a completely different, lovely green colour.  So there you have it – that wasn’t so bad!  One of the easier Sphagnum species to recognize in the field, but a real pleasure to find.

Read the Field Guide account

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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