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Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Sphagnum cymbilifolium.

Material 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[1]. 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[1][2]. The moss can absorb moisture laterally, as well as from above, it holds onto all the moisture until fully soaked before releasing any[1]. Thus a dressing of the moss needs to be changed less frequently than cotton wool dressings[1]. 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[3]. 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.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The whole fresh plant is antiseptic[1][3]. Because of its absorptive properties, it makes an excellent wound dressing and has been widely employed for this purpose in the past[1]. Its use is said to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the First World War[1]. The moss is dried thoroughly before use[1]. 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[1][2]. It is very beneficial for allaying irritation from insect bites and can also serve as a preventative to being bitten[1].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


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[1].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Sphagnum cymbilifolium. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Plants only grow in clean acid water and dislike any form of manure[1]. They succeed in full sun or in partial shade[2]. 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.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Sphagnum cymbilifolium. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Sphagnum cymbilifolium.




None listed.


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Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Sphagnum cymbilifolium
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    3. ? Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    4. ? Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press (1955-00-00)

    Facts about "Sphagnum cymbilifolium"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familySphagnaceae +
    Belongs to genusSphagnum +
    Has binomial nameSphagnum cymbilifolium +
    Has common nameSphagnum Moss +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone2 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useBaby care +, Bedding +, Compost +, Cotton wool +, Lining +, Mulch +, Packing + and Repellent +
    Has mature height0.3 +
    Has mature width0.3 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAntiseptic +, Skin + and Stings +
    Has search namesphagnum cymbilifolium + and sphagnum moss +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameSphagnum cymbilifolium +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium +, Sphagnum cymbilifolium + and Sphagnum cymbilifolium +