Common Green Sphagnum Moss

Picea mariana

APPEARANCE

This moss variety is a vibrant green or slightly yellowish colour. It has upright stems that are star shaped and flat topped and form a carpet of branches that cluster in bunches of four to five.

RANGE & HABITAT

This type of sphagnum moss can be found throughout B.C. but it is most common in the northern areas in lower elevations and also in bogs and swamps with shaded forest areas. It is also found all around the world where there is shrubby tundra habitat.

LIFE CYCLE

The sphagnum moss does not reproduce with seeds but with spores instead.

ANIMAL USES

This moss provides a great place for nesting and bedding for birds.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The sphagnum moss was widely used to treat wounds for infection, for baby care and personal hygiene. It was also mixed with pitch to fill the wood in canoes and it was used alone to line fir pits, fill pillows and mattresses and as moisture for cooking.

MODERN USES

Through a process of distilling, tar can be extracted from the moss. The tar was used in ointments to treat eczema, acne and psoriases all common skin diseases of the modern world.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bio.brandeis.edu

Photo: eyeweed