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NZ Plants

Sphagnum species - sphagnum moss

Family: Sphagnaceae

Sphagnum species have an erect stem bearing well-spaced leaves, the ‘stem leaves’. At intervals along the stem, there are tufts of branches which are of two types: some are slender and pointing downward and others are thicker and spreading. Leaves on the branches are tightly oppressed to the stem and overlapping. These contain large, dead and empty cells (water-absorbing hyaline cells) around which there is a network of narrow, living green (yellow-orange when dry) cells.  The capsules are unusual because the lid (operculum) is shot off explosively together with the spores as it dries.

Found throughout New Zealand in swampy areas.