Monday, November 24, 2008

Sphagnum Mosses of Berrien County, Michigan

The sphagnum mosses are plants that belong to the Class Sphagnopsida, which consists of a single order (Sphagnales), a single Family (Sphagnaceae), and a single genus (Sphagnum). Some 285 species of sphagnum mosses are known worldwide, with 89 occurring in North America and 33 in Michigan. Sphagnum moss is sometimes called peat moss because the decayed and compacted remains of sphagnum moss form an organic product called peat. In contrast to the true mosses, the sphagnum mosses have the unique ability to absorb large quantities (up to 25 times their dry weight) of water in their cells. They are characteristic plants of bogs and other wetland habitats.

The following provisional list of the sphagnum mosses of Berrien County was derived from scanning the distribution maps in the online Flora of North America. Surprisingly (to me, at least), as many as 27 species of sphagnum mosses may occur in Berrien County, as all of the species listed below appear to have wide distributions that encompass Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Common names are taken from ITIS (where called Sphagnums) or British Liverworts and Mosses—a field guide (where called Bog-mosses). An asterisk (*) denotes a species treated in Henry T. Darlington’s (1964) The mosses of Michigan.

Family Sphagnaceae:
  • Sphagnum angustifolium (=recurvum), Fine Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum capillifolium, Acute-leaved/Red Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum centrale*
  • Sphagnum compactum, Low Sphagnum or Compact Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum contortum, Contorted Sphagnum or Twisted Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum cuspidatum, Toothed Sphagnum or Feathery Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum fallax, Flat-topped Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum fimbriatum, Fringed Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum flexuosum (=recurvum), Flexuous Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum fuscum, Rusty Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum girgensohnii, Girgensohn’s Sphagnum or Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum henryense, Henry’s Sphagnum
  • Sphagnum isoviitae
  • Sphagnum lescurii, Lescur’s Sphagnum
  • Sphagnum magellanicum, Magellen’s Sphagnum or Magellanic Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum palustre, Prairie Sphagnum or Blunt-leaved Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum papillosum, Papillose Sphagnum or Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum platyphylum, Flat-leaved Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum pulchrum*
  • Sphagnum rubellum
  • Sphagnum russowii, Russow’s Sphagnum or Bog-moss
  • Sphagnum squarrosum, Spiky Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum subsecundum, Slender Cow-horn Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum subtile
  • Sphagnum teres, Rigid Bog-moss*
  • Sphagnum warnstorfii, Warnstorf's Sphagnum*
  • Sphagnum wulfianum*, Wulf’s Sphagnum
  • Labels: , ,


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