Sphagnaceae

These mosses known as Sphagnum are quite distinctive. Sphagnum is found in areas where there is a lot of moisture.

Sphagnum is used in horticulture as a growing medium, especially for orchids. (The most meaningless job I have ever had in my life was stuffing 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. In their leaves there are large clear cells which give the plants the capacity to hold up to 20 times their dry weight in water.

Sphagnum2a

Sphagnum cristatum

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