Sphagnum quinquefarium

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Identification notes

Most typical of shaded banks in woodland or sheltered gullies in high rainfall areas, S. quinquefarium is definitely not a plant of mires or flushes and that helps with identifying it in the field. It grows in relatively dense patches, but is dubbed ‘the antisocial Sphagnum’ because there is usually a little space between adjacent capitula. Its reddish hues and erect stem leaves readily identify it as one of the species in Section Acutifolia (which also includes the likes of S. capillifolium, S. rubellum, S. subnitens and S. russowii). If you carefully examine a shoot or two, you’ll find that most fascicles of S. quinquefarium have three spreading branches, not two, unlike its similar-looking relatives.

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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