Sphagnaceae

Sphagnum cristatum

Recently (October 2003) I found a patch of sphagnum in the northern part of the Kaimais. Also growing on the clumps of moss were Drosera binata, an orchid Petalochilus minor, as well as quite a few Hygrocybe cantharellus (a little red fungus).

Sphagnum is used in horticulture as a growing medium, especially for orchids. (The most meaningless job I have ever had in my life was to stuff dried sphagnum into plastic pots containing orchids at a local orchid growing nursery.)

Sphagnum is harvested for horticultural purposes on the West Coast of the South Island. Much of this harvest is exported. Sphagnum is also found in large deposits as peat in several parts of the country and "mined" to become part of "potting mix" because of its water-holding capacity.
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