Blunt-leaved Bog-moss - Sphagnum palustre


Sphagnum palustre is rather variable in colour, forming large, untidy mats or loose hummocks that are green to yellow-brown, with or without a contrasting capitulum centre. The most distinctive plants have capitula with the centre arched above the outer part, the centre salmon-pink to brick-red or dark brown (especially in the autumn and winter), contrasting with paler spreading branches. Spreading branches in the outer part of the capitulum and just below are usually elongated and narrowly tapering. Fascicles have 2 or 3 spreading and up to 4 pendent branches. The basal part of branch leaves is usually held at an angle of less than 45° to the branch stem, though the upper part can be widely spreading to almost recurved. Capsules are occasional.

Similar Species

Sphagnum papillosum is more compact and has papillae on the cell walls which have to be confirmed und the microscope.

Identification difficulty

The most shade-tolerant of the species in this Section, found in sites that are moderately enriched with nutrients, for example wet woodland, ditches, stream margins and flushes.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain, but less common in parts of central and eastern England.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map