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I think he is really busy, and if you have the microscope and knowledge of what parts you should photograph, you are at the point of being able to do it yourself using a good key. It's worth to look at his some species he describes on his site to see the microscopic pictures with the characteristics typical for some of the species.I kinda want a microscope now! I think ID based on pictures is only possible if you know in what region the Sphagnum grew and if you know what species occur in that country. 

I'm still not sure about my own species, maybe later this year when I have time and when I can borrow a microscope :)

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By photograph, I meant a very well magnified macro with enough detail to zoom in further. :rolleyes:

I also have no idea what to look for on the detail of the moss, as it's not something I ever had an interest in before starting to grow CP's. :biggrin:

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I am sooo glad to see someone interested in the biology and taxonomy of plants, that I want to say at least "good luck and cheer up!"

Some Sphagnum species can be identified with hand lens of medium magnification (let's say, about 10X). Important characters are the morphology of rameal and caulinar phylidia, the arrangement of the branches, if they are all more or less equal or not, the colour (sometimes), the ecology, etc. Or at least, it should be possible to identify them up to the section level.

I am unfortunately really busy now, but I will try to get some free time and identify some of my Sphagnum. If there is something interesting to you, of course I will colaborate by sending you samples :-) I am almost sure I have the true S. squarrosum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That looks really good. Have they never overgrown plants before in those 30 years?

I must point out that just like user JCZ pointed out, my Sphagnum is most probably S. palustre, and not S. squarrosum. The 'leaves' are cucculate (hooded, like the edges are bent inward and the top is like a hood. So probably indeed section Sphagnum. And the spreading branches are not blunt, but rather longer (i forgot the botanical correct terms) towards to points. I still haven't gotten a microscope yet so I can't really use most determination keys. 

I wouldn't dare to help naming your moss, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were S. palustre too. 

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Hi Koen C.,

Oh yes, the moss needs "pruning" at least once a year outdoors in the bog garden. I either just push it down, or remove some and push down and spread out the remaining. This habit is definitely my favourite, all nice and spongy!

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  • 3 weeks later...

For the people interested in Sphagnum ID: The first picture of this thread shows Sphagnum with leaves that seem squarrose at first glance (upper part of the leaf bent back abruptly so they point away from the stem). As forum member JCZ pointed out, the plant is not Sphagnum squarrosum like I thought, but probably S. palustre. The habit of Sphagnum mosses to grow like this is called 'subsquarrose' by some authors. 

I was lucky enough to find Sphagnum 2 days ago that is most probably true S. squarrosum and I'll give a quick comparison.



The picture above is Sphagnum palustre (or at least in the section Sphagnum). As they were kept in a rather shady condition, the leaves seem squarrose at first glance. The leaves are still hooded though, typical for this section ('cucculate'). The leaves are not really narrow at the end. In the middle of the capitulum, there is no stem bud visible through the branches.



The picture above is the one and only: Sphagnum squarrosum. Notice how the stem bud emerges in between the young branches. This apical bud is easy to see with a 10x maginying lens, with a more white green color then the surrounding branches. The leaves are actually squarrose, the tip of the leaves is narrow and the plant looks even more spikey then the subsquarrose form of S. palustre. Below pictures of a squarrose leave and a spikey branch of S. squarrosum.


Friendly reminder that Sphagnum should never be harvested or taken from the wild, at most take one single strand if you want to identify a species using a lens or microscope. The plants are really rare and struggle to survive where humans interfere.

Have a nice day!

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Now, it is!! Congratulations :biggrin:

The details are magnificient to show the differences.

I have also found it in my pots, I send another comparison of a species that probably belongs to S. sect. Sphagnum and S. squarrosum. Such a lovely genus.


Sphagnum comparison.jpg

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Perfect :) Lovely to see, especially keeping in mind that theres a huge distance between Belgium and Sweden. Both species look exactly the same on our pictures.

Over here, S. squarrosum seems specialized in more wooded areas with birch (Betula). I have no idea how the spores seem to find their way to such a small birch forest, because S. palustre could perfectly grow there as well,, and S. squarrosum could perfectly grow in a more open bog too. A true mystery for me unless they get distributed by certain animals or so.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

After almost a year i was able to obtain a lot of Sphagnum species, which nearly all grow well (Remember they shouldn't be collected in the wild).  I have 5 species that are making sporophytes now and I'm sharing some pictures of them. Also notice how different they look in close up. The features that distinguish for example S. papillosum from the others become really obvious through a macro lens(robust structure and branches, broad and hooded leaves, branches are more blunt than in S. palustre, which is the most common Sphagnum among CP growers),  . The same goes for S. squarrosum (the outward pointing  leaves (spikey look) and big apical bud in the center) and S. fimbriatum/girgensohnii (slender plant, with a really clear apical bud in the center).

Sphagnum fimbriatum or girgensohnii (I didn't check it yet), may 28 and juni 9.

s AX2b 0528S ax2b 0609

S. squarrosum may 28 and juni 9

s squarrosum 0528S squarrosum 0609

S. papillosum, june 9. I forgot to remove the net in this picture. All of my mosses are covered with this or birds would destroy the collection within a day if not less.

S papillosum 0609

, S. rubellum may 28 and june 9 (It seems I didn't get this in focus)

S rubellum ax3 0528S rubellum AX3b 0609

S. russowii may 28

S russowii 0528



Edited by Koen C.
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