Sphagnum squarrosum Crome
shaggy peat (sphagnum)

Species Account Author: Wilf Schofield
Extracted from Some Common Mosses of BC

Introduction to the Bryophytes of BC


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #76948)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Sphagnum squarrosum
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Species Information

Species description:
Species name referring to the leaf orientation in which the points bend abruptly outward, giving the leafy branches a prickly appearance.
Although called a peat moss, S. squarrosum is not an important peat-former.
Distinguishing characteristics:
The coarse plants with bristly squarrose leaves on the divergent branches are characteristic; the species is one of forest and cliff habitats, not in bogs.
Loose, pale, dull green turfs of sprawling or suberect to erect inter tangled shoots, sometimes partially submerged.
Similar Species:
S. squarrosum might be confused with S. palustre but the strongly squarrose leaves and the non-bog habitat of the former should separate them. Microscopically S. squarrosum lacks stem cells that have fibril thickenings.


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Illustration SourceSome Common Mosses of BC

Habitat and Range

Predominantly a woodland species tolerant of some shade, in swampy or seepage sites or near waterfalls or watercourses from sea level to sub alpine elevations.
World Distribution

Widespread in the temperate portion of the Northern Hemisphere, also in New Zealand; in North America southward in the east to North Carolina and to California in the west.