Sphagnum molle

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Identification notes

In many areas Sphagnum molle is an uncommon plant. In southern Britain characteristically found in sheltered situations (such as banks or below Calluna) at the interface of wet heath and valley mire in a community that often also includes S. compactum and/or S. tenellum. In the north and in Ireland it is also characteristic of raised bogs.

Low mounds of this species can be very striking, with a ‘halo’ of red-pink visible (hence its common name of Blushing Bog-moss). Often though, its pinkish hues are muted and inconspicuous and then it’s easy to miss it.

As with other species in Section Acutifolia though, its stem leaves are erect (always check this character in mid stem as leaves of many Sphagnum species tend to be erect just below the capitulum). Sphagnum molle has conspicuously large and concave stem leaves that are similar in size to its branch leaves and this sets it apart from all of our other species of Sphagnum, including S. subnitens, pale forms of which it can resemble.

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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