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Useful Temperate Plants

Sphagnum cymbilifolium

Ehrh.

Typhaceae


The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Sphagnum Moss

No Image.

General Information

Sphagnum cymbilifolium is a Evergreen Perennial up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials..

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

60
Title
Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. C. L.
Publisher
University of Washington Press
Year
1955
ISBN
-
Description
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is not for the casual reader.

Range

Northern Temperate zones.

Habitat

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
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height0.30 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Plants only grow in clean acid water and dislike any form of manure[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. They succeed in full sun or in partial shade[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
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.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The whole fresh plant is antiseptic[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
]. Because of its absorptive properties, it makes an excellent wound dressing and has been widely employed for this purpose in the past[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. Its use is said to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the First World War[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. The moss is dried thoroughly before use[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
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
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is very beneficial for allaying irritation from insect bites and can also serve as a preventative to being bitten[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Other Uses

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
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. 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
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The moss can absorb moisture laterally, as well as from above, it holds onto all the moisture until fully soaked before releasing any[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. Thus a dressing of the moss needs to be changed less frequently than cotton wool dressings[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. 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
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
]. 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.

Propagation

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
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-08-08. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Sphagnum+cymbilifolium>

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