Sphagnum papillosum - Lindberg

Object of the Month: 12/2000

What is it?:

Sphagnum papillosum Lindberg, a species of peat moss.

Peat moss and watercolor painting of moss
Peat moss and watercolor painting of moss

This is a technical illustration done in watercolor by Joannes Janssens of Sphagnum papillosum Lindberg, a species of peat moss. This specimen is part of an extensive new herbarium collection recently donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota by Dr. Janssens, one of the world's foremost experts in bryology (the branch of botany that focuses on bryophytes, i.e. mosses and liverworts). Find out more about this new collection.

Sphagnum papillosum Lindberg is found in the peatlands of the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province in Minnesota. It is also occasionally found in some tamarack swamps in the southern part of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province of the state. Fossil remains have been found in the acidic peats of the Red Lake Peatland and Marcell Bog Peatland, existing continuously throughout the last 3,000 years, with some early occurrences more than 6,000 years ago. Sphagnum papillosum Lindberg forms pure populations in depressions near the local water table and is rarely found as individual plants. In patterned peatlands, it is most commonly found in open fens and in expansive lawns downslope from large crested bogs, in large water tracks, and in the center of ovoid islands. In forested peatlands, it is far less frequent, except in the south, where it is restricted to poor fens with tamarack populations.