Sphagnum Moss – the Bog Builder

“Without Sphagnum mosses there would be no bogs in Ireland.”

Bogs have a living surface which is made of a carpet of Sphagnum mosses. This is floating on a thick layer of partly rotted plant material that is soaking wet. This is why when you walk across the surface of a bog it feels bouncy.

The carpet of Sphagnum mosses is not flat. Some Sphagnum mosses grow tightly packed together to form hummocks or cushions. These can be up to 1m high on the bog and can be chocolate brown or orange in colour. Scientists have counted 50,000 Sphagnum plants in a hummock measuring one square metre. Others form loose mats in colours of pink, red, copper and yellow. Still others grow as single plants surrounded by water in bog pools. (Irish Peatland Conservation Council)

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