Lustrous Bog-moss - Sphagnum subnitens var. subnitens


Forms moderately dense cushions and small hummocks. The capitula are usually less than 2 cm in diameter, much smaller in dry or exposed sites. The outer branches of the capitula and upper stem branches are long, making shoots look top-heavy. In denser cushions, these branches turn upwards and grow over the capitulum centre. Fascicles usually have only 1 pendent and 2 spreading branches, and are closely spaced; the branches tangled and hiding the stem. Spreading branch leaves are not in straight lines. Capitula usually show some differentiation, often very distinct, between a green centre and pinkish outer branches. Some plants can be very dingy, but still retain this colour contrast. Stem leaves are large, up to twice as long as wide, rather variable in shape, but always acute, usually with a pinched, sharp tip; the whole leaf may appear distinctly triangular. Capsules are common.

Similar Species

Similar to Spagnum capillifolium but often with a greener capitula and with stem leaves that have a sharp tip.

Identification difficulty

Boggy grassland, marshes, fens, flushes, ditches, wet woodland, and humid, rocky banks under heather. In the north and west, also found on blanket bogs.

When to see it

All year round.

UK Status

Widespread in Britain but mainly found on the western side of the country.

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