Sphagnum fuscum A81 Identification Card

Sphagnum fuscum A81 Identification Card

Sphagnum fuscum A81 


This is the dichotomous key with which the A81 culture was analyzed. 

The images shown were made to the optical microscope by analyzing samples taken from culture A81. 

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.



Branch leaves large (more than 1.5 mm) and broad. Hyaline cells of upper mid-leaf romboid, not more than 5 times longer than wide. Stem cortex 2-or more layered. Photosynthetic cells oval in TS, immersed or almost so.


Branch leaves narrow or, if broad, then hyaline cells.long and narrow, more than 6 times as long as wide, and stem cortex usually 1-layered. Photosynthetic cells (except S. wulfianum) obviously exposed on one or both surfaces.



Fascicles of mature plants consisting of at least 7 (usually 8 or more) branches. Stem leaves small (less than 1.2 mm). Photosynthetic cells in TS, oval. Plants rigid with dense, acute branch leaves and conspicuously large capitula. A continental species of moderately wet coniferous forest

and, rarely; damp heath.

Section Polyclada Sphagnum wulfianum

Fascicles never with more than 7 (usually fewer than 6) branches. Stem leaves usually over 1.2 mm long. Photosynthetic cells in TS, triangular, trapezoid or barrel-shaped. Capitula small to  well-developed.



Photosynthetic cells in TS, triangular or trapezoid with widest exposure on convex leaf surface, or ± barrel-shaped and ± equally exposed on both leaf surfaces. Plant, if small-leaved, not red.


Photosynthetic cells in TS, triangular or trapezoid with widest exposure on concave leaf surface. Includes small-leaved (ie under 1.6 mm long) red plants.

Section Acutifolia 34

34 - Section Acutifolia

Outer edge of branch leaf border resorbed, forming a furrow (seen as a notch in TS). Stem leaves large: strongly fibrillose and:at least in upper halves, ± identical in structure to branch leaves. Plants medium-sized but low-growing: usually pale, tinged with pink. Locally frequent in the west on shallow peat of wet heaths.

Sphagnum molle

Outer edge of branch leaf border intact. Stem leaves various, without fibrils or weakly fibrillose (strongly fibrillose in S. angermanicum), not identical to branch leaves in upper part.



Stem leaves lingulate to spatulate (wider above the middle than at insertion), with patches of enlarged hyaline cells above base and also just below apex: hyaline cells never fibrillose: apices rather narrowly to widely fimbriate. Stem cortex with large, distinct pores. Stem bud conical and ± projecting from capitulum. Branch leaves never 5-ranked. Plants pale green to pale ochre, never red or dark brown.


Stem leaves various; if wider above the middle, then hyaline cells at least partly fibrillose, branch leaves .5-ranked, or plants red or brown: cells above base not markedly enlarged. Stem cortex without pores, or pores indistinct (sometimes pores more distinct in S. russowii): Stem buds rarely projecting from capitulum. Plants often with at least some red or brown coloration (sometimes confined to internal cylinder of stems and branches).



Stem leaves wider at mid-leaf than at insertion: hyaline cells strongly fibrillose. Branch leaves easily flattened: apices broad, not inrolled, strongly dentate. Capitula with projecting stem buds: Plants flaccid, often rather pale: rare in weakly mesotrophic mires.

Sphagnum angermanicum

Stem leaves at mid-leaf as wide as, or narrower than, at insertion: hyaline cells rarely strongly fibrillose. Branch leaves difficult or impossible to flatten because of inrolled margins towards apices (at least in lower leaves of branches). Capitula without projecting stem buds.



Stems brown. Plants usually brown (at least in part), rarely green, never red. Stem leaves mostly without fibrils. Branch leaves never 5-ranked.


Stems green, red or violet. Plants green, red or violet (at least in part): if entirely green, then stem leaves distinctly fibrillose near apex. Branch leaves 5-ranked or not.



Dried plants irridescent when viewed with a lens. Branch leaf hyaline cells on convex leaf surface mostly with a large (12:0-15.0 p,m) pore in the apical angle. Plants small to medium-sized in somewhat mesotrophic habitats rare to local: boreal.

Sphagnum subfulvum

Dried plants matt, lacking irridescence. Branch leaf hyaline cells on convex surface mostly lacking apical pores: if present, then less than 12.0 pin. Plants small, in oligotrophic mires. Common and widespread in the north: rare to locally frequent towards the south.

Sphagnum fuscum


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