Sphagnum cristatum P41 Identification Card

Sphagnum cristatum P41 Identification Card

Sphagnum cristatum P41 

New Zealand 

This is the dichotomous key with which the P41 culture was analyzed. 

The images shown were made to the optical microscope by analyzing samples taken from culture P41. 

For the full dichotomous key, read this blog  


Cortical cells or branches (and usually at least the internal one of stems) with spiral fibrils. Apices of branch leaves blunt and hooded, appearing minutely roughened. On the convex surface due to projecting, partly resorbed, hyaline cells. Plants usually robust.

Section Sphagna 2

Cortical cells without fibrils. Branch leaf apices usually acute, truncate or, if hooded, then smooth on the convex surface. Plants robust or small.


2 - Section Sphagna

Internal commissural walls of branch leaf hyaline cells (at least in the lower lateral parts of leaves) with papillae or sparse to dense lamellae or crests (ie appearing as though the photosynthetic cells have papillose or ornamented walls). Plants green, yellow, ochre or brown, never crimson.


Internal commissural walls smooth throughout. Plants, except for capitula, usually green or  crimson-tinted.


The key concerns only European species, in which the Sphagnum cristatum is not included: it is a southern hemisphere plant. However, to ensure correct identification, it is possible to compare the microscope images with the descriptive table of the species.

Fig 1 - Branch leaves, 2,5-3mm, ovate and strongly concave with cucullate apices.

Fig 2 - Branch leave apex. Obtuse with resorbed hyaline cells

Fig 3 - Branch stem. Single layer cortex with spiral fibrils.

Fig 4 - Fascicles. 2 Spreading branches and 2-3 pendant branches

Fig 5 Branch leaves transversal section. 

Fig 6 - Large capitula. Widespread growth, and tapered branches.

Fig 7 - Branch leave, ventral side. Hylaine cells with large circular pores not along the commissures. 

Fig 8 - Branch leave, dorsal side. Hylaine cells with large semicircular pores along the commissures. 

Fig 9 - Main Stem. The stem leaves have a widespread or erect arrangement.

Fig 10 - Stem leaves slightly fibrillose. Triangular-Spatulate form. Obtuse apex with resorbed hyaline cells. 

Fig 11 - Stem cortex with large distinct elliptical pores.

Fig 12 Stem leaves apex slightly fibrilloseObtuse with resorbed hyaline cells.

Fig 13 - Main Stem transversal section. Cortex with 3-4 layers. Center with green-ochre pigmentation.

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