Sphagnum – the structure and properties of moss, varieties, medicinal use and for indoor plants

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Not everyone knows that the nature of our country is rich in plant materials, which have a large number of useful properties and are widely used in various fields of human activity. Sphagnum is one of the unique plants of ecology, which has found its application in medicine, plant growing, animal husbandry, etc. Thanks to the beneficial properties of moss, our ancestors fought against diseases, and today they actively use sphagnum perennial for the treatment of a number of diseases.

What is sphagnum

A species of a perennial spore plant from the sphagnaceae family belongs to the class of deciduous mosses. Sphagnum mosses grow with a dense, soft carpet, mainly on turf, in forest zones and marshes of the Northern Hemisphere. In the south, they mainly grow in the mountains. A distinctive feature of sphagnum – the absence of a root system.

The appearance of sphagnum resembles fluffy grass. Moss grows in the upper part, and the lower, dying, forms peat. On the stem and lateral branches of the plant are small leaves, they grow in a spiral. Sphagus has a diverse color; in nature, brown, red, white and pink moss are more common..

Plant structure

Sphagnum is a large plant, on average it can reach a height of 10-20 cm. At the top of the branch, bolls are formed in which spores later form. Sphagnum ones are the only of the mosses who do not have rhizoids, therefore they absorb moisture by the stem and leaves. The stem includes three types of branches: protruding, drooping and apical. The leaf of the plant consists of two cells: green (living) and dead. The former are responsible for photosynthesis, while the latter serve as a storage of moisture and air..

Inside the body consists of plant tissues with cells, the structure is formed by connecting green cells to each other. Due to its structure, this type of sphagnum moss has the ability to absorb large amounts of water. When saturated with moisture, the peat perennial acquires a light green hue, and when completely dried, it whitens.

The structure of the moss

Sphagnum Properties

Sphagnum plants grow in places with high humidity and contribute to waterlogging of the territory. The plant’s body contains carbolic acid, so sphagus helps the formation of peat and almost does not rot. Hygroscopicity allows moss to absorb a large amount of moisture, so it plays the role of a baking powder of the soil, and thanks to the sphagnol prevents root decay, therefore it is used in gardening. With the help of plants of this group sphagnum bogs are formed.


The following types of moss are distinguished:

  • dry;
  • marsh;
  • white.

The first type is often used in floriculture, they cover plants in the cold period to avoid freezing of the root system. Collecting excess moisture, it protects the shoots from decay and the development of parasites. Swamp sphagnum is actively used in medicine, horticulture and construction. White moss sphagnum is used by gardeners as top dressing and to acidify the soil, this gives plants a rich color, and in medicine – for the manufacture of disinfectants.

How sphagnum multiplies

Reproduction is facilitated by spores matured in sporophyte, and offspring. Fertilization occurs only with the participation of water, a zygote is formed and division occurs. From the lower cell, a haustorium develops, which consumes nutrients from the gametophyte and promotes the development of sporophyte. Further, a box is formed on the top of the stem and spores form, ripened spores fall to the ground and contribute to the development of a new plant.

The use of sphagnum

Over the years, the beneficial properties of sphagnum have made life easier for people and saved lives. Actively apply sphagnum perennial moss steel during the war, since there was a shortage of dressings. Residents of North America today use a dry plant instead of lining in cots, because thanks to its qualities, it helps to avoid diaper rash.

For medicinal purposes

Sphagnum is used in medicine and is known for its bactericidal and aseptic properties, it is used for disinfection and other purposes:

  1. It resists infection of wounds and cuts..
  2. Due to the content of phenolic substances, coumarin, sugar and resin compounds, sphagnum moss is an antiseptic.
  3. Using a plant during a fracture as a dressing or dressing, you can not resort to additional sterilization.
  4. Moss fights bacteria, fungus of the skin and nails, is useful for psoriasis and skin irritations, and fights suppuration of wounds..
  5. Long-term sphagnum can be used as raw material for the manufacture of medical and other types of alcohol, fodder yeast. In addition, moss is useful for burns and frostbite. To do this, grind dry moss and pour boiling water to the state of gruel, then slightly cooled moss should be applied to the sore spot.
  6. To combat bedsores in bedridden patients, sphagnum bedding is used: they absorb sweat, eliminate unpleasant odors.
  7. This type of perennial plant is also used as additional tires for bone fractures..
  8. It is known that chewing sphagnum moss dulls birth pains and speeds up the birth process.
  9. With high sweating of the legs, insoles from sphagus are used, for this it is necessary to grind it and fill it with a linen bag, repeating the contour of the leg.

Sphagnum in the hand

  1. Sphagnum broth has long been used in Chinese medicine for sore throats, flu, as a disinfectant for stomatitis and infections in the nasopharynx. Broth actively treat insect bites and ulcers.
  2. Based on the extract of a perennial plant, drugs were created to treat the prostate and inflammation in the bladder.
  3. Sphagus can be used as cotton wool or bandage, it absorbs much more moisture than cotton wool.
  4. With colitis, crushed sphagnum is used: it is eaten by a teaspoon half an hour before a meal.
  5. Given dermatological properties, perennial is used for skin diseases – they make a special compress.
  6. To combat staphylococcus, sphagnum perennials are collected in swamp areas, peat water is squeezed out, then infected areas are washed with it or moist sphagnum is applied to the infected area..

Several recipes that help with a variety of diseases:

  • A powder that promotes the healing of open wounds and ulcers. Dried pieces of sphagnum must be thoroughly ground, then sprinkle a cut and wait a few minutes. After this, it is necessary to rinse the wound and apply a bandage.
  • Infusion against nail fungus Pour a hundred grams of dry plant with a glass of medical alcohol, insist for four minutes, then drain the alcohol, and attach the moss to the infected nail and leave for several hours.
  • Decoction for the treatment of joint diseases. One hundred grams of sphagnum must be poured with ten liters of water, brought to a boil and let it brew for several minutes. After the broth has completely cooled, it is necessary to fill the bath with warm water and add it there. Take a therapeutic bath should be from half an hour to forty minutes.

Farm use

Our nature is rich in resources that play a large role in everyday life, and their useful properties are often not known to everyone. For economic purposes, the use of sphagnum has become widespread. Hundreds of gardeners and builders, gardeners and herbalists use moss as an assistant in everyday life.

Sphagnum perennial often plays the role of an ornamental plant, it is used in the design of flower beds or a garden. This perennial is often used by flower growers: lovers of orchids and indoor plants insulate their root system. Peat moss acts as a fertilizer for the garden, it is suitable for aeration and improving the quality of the soil, for storing root crops and onions, germinating seeds.

Before adding sphagnum to the soil, finely chop it. Due to the water-retaining effect, sphagnum moss for indoor plants located in rooms with low humidity is used as an additional source of moisture and nutrients, if it is not possible to care for flowers daily.

Beekeepers use sphagnum as a heater for beehives, to collect excess moisture during the winter cold snap, and livestock breeders – as bedding for livestock or pets, because it has the ability to absorb unpleasant odors, and the used material is used as fertilizer for weakened soil.

The plant is suitable for closing cracks or warming walls in timber houses or baths: for this, moist moss is placed between the bars. Due to its antiseptic properties, sphagnum prevents pests that can damage the wood layer, mold, and also provides ventilation. In addition, the plant has a natural smell, unlike other heat-insulating materials, and is not inferior to them in quality.

The plant is widely used as a decorative material, it can be used to create florariums, decorative floral compositions and panels. It will not only revitalize the appearance, but also extend the life of neighboring plants. It can be used as an organic substrate, instead of a floral sponge.

Adding sphagnum to the soil for orchids

Harvesting plants

Sphagnum sprouts should be collected in places with minimal humidity, for example, near trees, avoiding swamps. When collecting, the top is cut with a knife. Collection must be done selectively to allow moss to recover in the harvested area. Harvesting moss for medicinal purposes is carried out from May to September in dry weather. To dry the material, a simple wooden structure is made – hangers that look like an open rack. Install them in a dry place, protected from rain and sun..

After the collection is made, perennial is poured with warm water for 35 minutes to get rid of insects, then squeezed, dried. Store the prepared natural material in a dark place, in a paper or fabric bag. In winter, sphagnum can be stored on the balcony, but to use it must be thawed. If desired, sphagnum sprouts can be propagated at home. It is necessary to choose a convenient plastic container, provide it with a ventilation hole, add water and lay the moss on the bottom with water.


The only reason you should not resort to treatment with sphagnum is an allergic reaction to its chemical components.

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