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Magellan's sphagnum, magellanic peat-moss

Habit Plants moderate-sized to robust, somewhat lax in shade forms to quite compact and stiff in open grown forms; green to pinkish green to reddish purple; forms lawns in shaded habitats and low to moderately tall, dense hummocks in open habitats.

leaves to 2 × 0.7 mm; rarely hemiisophyllous;

hyaline cells non-ornamented, mostly nonseptate.


long and tapering to short and pointed, leaves loosely imbricate.

Branch leaves

broadly ovate, to 2 × 1 mm or more wide, broadly ovate, hyaline cells non-ornamented, convex surface with round to elliptic pores along the commissures; chlorophyllous cells short-elliptic in transverse section and well-enclosed on both surfaces.

Sexual condition



with numerous pseudostomata.


22–30 µm; roughly papillose to nearly smooth, with distinct Y-mark sculpture on distal surface;

proximal laesura 0.5–0.8 spore radius.


fascicles with 2–3 spreading and 2–3 pendent branches.;

branch stems with hyaline cells non-ornamented;

no or weak funnel-like projections on the interior end walls, large round pores on superficial cell walls.

Sphagnum magellanicum

Phenology Capsules mature mid summer.
Habitat Ecological amplitude very wide, ombrotrophic to rich fen peatlands, forested and open mires
Elevation low to high elevations
from FNA
AK; AL; AR; CA; CT; DE; FL; GA; ID; IL; IN; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; MT; NC; NH; NJ; NY; OH; OR; PA; SC; TN; TX; VA; VT; WA; WI; WV; AB; BC; MB; NB; NF; NS; NT; ON; PE; QC; SK; YT; South America; Eurasia
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As the only boreal species of the section with a reddish purple color, Sphagnum magellanicum is usually easy to identify. The branch leaf chlorophyll cells are capable of being confused only with those of S. alaskense, which are less enclosed on both surfaces, and S. centrale, which has thickened end walls on the chlorophyll cells that give them a narrow exposure on the concave surface.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 27, p. 52.
Parent taxa Sphagnaceae > Sphagnum > sect. Sphagnum
Sibling taxa
S. affine, S. alaskense, S. andersonianum, S. angermanicum, S. angustifolium, S. annulatum, S. aongstroemii, S. arcticum, S. atlanticum, S. austinii, S. balticum, S. bartlettianum, S. beothuk, S. bergianum, S. brevifolium, S. capillifolium, S. carolinianum, S. centrale, S. compactum, S. contortum, S. cribrosum, S. cuspidatum, S. cyclophyllum, S. fallax, S. fimbriatum, S. fitzgeraldii, S. flavicomans, S. flexuosum, S. fuscum, S. girgensohnii, S. henryense, S. imbricatum, S. inexspectatum, S. inundatum, S. isoviitae, S. jensenii, S. junghuhnianum, S. kenaiense, S. lenense, S. lescurii, S. lindbergii, S. macrophyllum, S. majus, S. mcqueenii, S. mendocinum, S. microcarpum, S. mirum, S. mississippiense, S. molle, S. obtusum, S. oregonense, S. orientale, S. pacificum, S. palustre, S. papillosum, S. perfoliatum, S. perichaetiale, S. platyphyllum, S. portoricense, S. pulchrum, S. pylaesii, S. quinquefarium, S. recurvum, S. riparium, S. rubellum, S. rubiginosum, S. rubroflexuosum, S. russowii, S. sitchense, S. splendens, S. squarrosum, S. steerei, S. strictum, S. subfulvum, S. subnitens, S. subsecundum, S. subtile, S. talbotianum, S. tenellum, S. tenerum, S. teres, S. torreyanum, S. trinitense, S. tundrae, S. viride, S. warnstorfii, S. wilfii, S. wulfianum
Name authority Bridel: Muscol. Recent. 2(1): 24. (1798)
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