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Sphagnum cymbilifolium - Ehrh.

Common Name Sphagnum Moss
Family Sphagnaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet and boggy spots, preferably on peaty soils, mostly near heather, on mountains and on moors, forming large or small patches where there is sufficient lime-free water[4].
Range Northern Temperate zones.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sphagnum cymbilifolium Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum cymbilifolium Sphagnum Moss


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Physical Characteristics

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Sphagnum cymbilifolium is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic  Skin  Stings

The whole fresh plant is antiseptic[4, 172]. Because of its absorptive properties, it makes an excellent wound dressing and has been widely employed for this purpose in the past[4]. Its use is said to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the First World War[4]. The moss is dried thoroughly before use[4]. A tar extracted from the decaying moss is antiseptic and is seen as a valuable external application in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, pruritus and many other forms of skin diseases[4, 238]. It is very beneficial for allaying irritation from insect bites and can also serve as a preventative to being bitten[4].


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Other Uses

Baby care  Bedding  Compost  Cotton wool  Lining  Mulch  Packing  Repellent

The fresh plant is permeated with minute tubes and spaces, resulting in a system of delicate capillary tubes that has the effect of a very fine sponge[4]. The dried plant can absorb up to 16 times its own weight of water and so has been found to be effective when used for surgical dressings, sanitary towels, babies nappies etc[4, 238]. The moss can absorb moisture laterally, as well as from above, it holds onto all the moisture until fully soaked before releasing any[4]. Thus a dressing of the moss needs to be changed less frequently than cotton wool dressings[4]. Sphagnum moss also makes a good packing material for protecting delicate items in transit, it can be used as a cotton wool substitute and as a potting material for many species of orchid. The semi-decomposed plant, excavated from bogs, is a first rate soil conditioner and is also used in seed and potting composts[172]. However, the extensive use of this product is leading to the destruction of many natural moss bogs, a delicate habitat that takes centuries to be restored. Small scale use of sphagnum moss peat is probably sustainable for local use but alternatives need to be sought for larger scale use.

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Plants only grow in clean acid water and dislike any form of manure[4]. They succeed in full sun or in partial shade[238]. Sphagnum moss grows on wet acid soils. Due to the nature of its habitat, the dead plants do not decompose as quickly as new dead material is produced. Thus there is a gradual build up of organic matter, which is known as sphagnum moss peat, and over large periods of time this can produce deposits many metres thick. The effect of sphagnum is to gradually fill in wet areas such as ponds and lakes, producing its own unique habitat for a variety of plants and animals. Sphagnum moss peat has found a wide range of applications, especially in horticulture, but this has lead to over-exploitation as large volumes of the peat have been extracted and the habitats destroyed. It can take centuries for the habitats to be restored, though often the extent of the damage precludes any restoration.


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The plant is easily propagated by division. The whole plant can be chopped up into small pieces and each piece will grow into a new plant[4].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Sun Apr 9 2006

Hello, I live in France and would like to know if you can sell me fresh sphagnum moss? It is very difficult to find in France. Thank you a lot for your answerd. Cordially. Philippe

Eric   Sun Jun 25 2006

This is vary nice and all but where does it grow? I mean State/Country wise.

michael   Fri Jun 29 2007

hey, i am an alevel student in harpenden. i did a piece of coursework in noirfolk and looked at sphagnum moss for an investigation, i am trying to find out any other adaptations of sphagnum moss and if there is another usefull website like this. thanx

wegao lee   Sat Mar 22 2008

sphagnum moss use by topiary frame topiary frame with moss

   Sat Sep 19 2009

what are its adaptations?

broggy   Sun Oct 4 2009

how tall does it usually grow i am made of cheese and i am from russia

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