Hence, as sphagnum moss grows, it can slowly spread into drier conditions, forming larger mires, both raised bogs and blanket bogs. Like tree farms, these peatlands tend toward monoculture, lacking the biodiversity of an unharvested bog. California Do Not Sell My Info The water supports Sphagnum plants, making other strengthening structures unnecessary. Field surgeons seemed to agree. Sphagnum moss has also been used for centuries as a dressing for wounds, including through World War I. Its use is said to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the First World War. Once valued for its antiseptic qualities, sphagnum moss is now finding a new use as the world’s best potting medium for expensive hothouse orchids. “Moss drives” were announced in local papers, and volunteers included women of all ages and children. She has previously written for The Atlantic, Salon, Nautilus and others. But humans have also used it for at least 1,000 years to help heal their injuries. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Along the stem are scattered leaves of various shapes, named stem leaves; the shape varies according to species. Fraser, L. H. and P. A. Keddy (eds.). Sphagnan, a polysaccharide from Sphagnum cell walls, discovered 1983, inhibits microbial growth, tans the collagen and removes ammonia from microbial environments. [39], Europe has a long history of the exploitation of peatlands. “Sphagnum and peatlands are really important pockets of biodiversity.” Even if we no longer require moss’s assistance with our scrapes and lacerations, we should still respect and preserve the rare habitats it creates. • They are capable of holding “Those negative charges mean that positively charged nutrient ions [like potassium, sodium and calcium] are going to be attracted to the sphagnum.” As the moss soaks up all the negatively charged nutrients in the soil, it releases positively charged ions that make the environment around it acidic. Hyophila involuta (Cement Moss) and Brachythecium Buchanani figure in International Union for Conservation of … Desperate to get their hands on something sterile that would keep wounds clear of infection, doctors started getting creative. Together with an Edinburgh surgeon, Charles Cathcart, he had discovered in 1914 something well known to German doctors; dried Sphagnum (bog moss) makes highly absorptive, antiseptic wound dressings. Sporophytes are raised on stalks to facilitate spore dispersal, but unlike other mosses, Sphagnum stalks are produced by the maternal gametophyte. [38], Harvesting aside, bogs where Sphagnum grows have also come under threat by the development of wind farms in cool humid areas such as the Cordillera del Piuchén where the San Pedro Wind Farm was constructed in the 2010s. Different species of Sphagnum have different tolerance limits for flooding and pH, so any one peatland may have a number of different Sphagnum species.[9][7]. The sporophyte is relatively short-lived, and consists almost entirely of a shiny green, spherical spore capsule that becomes black with spores. P. 424-445 in L.H. Such bogs can also preserve human hair and clothing, one of the most noteworthy examples being Egtved Girl, Denmark. Lieutenant-Colonel E.P. What were the Allied Powers to do? Their absorbency was remarkable. India's first moss garden has been developed at Khurpatal in Nainital district, officials said on Saturday. "Ask Natural Life: Does Peat Moss Have a Place In the Ecological Garden", Cellulose Based Soil Medium as a Peat Moss Substitute. [6] These peat accumulations then provide habitat for a wide array of peatland plants, including sedges and ericaceous shrubs, as well as orchids and carnivorous plants.[7][8]. This is used as a soil conditioner which increases the soil's capacity to hold water and nutrients by increasing capillary forces and cation exchange capacity – uses that are particularly useful in gardening. India’s first moss garden has been developed at Khurpatal in Nainital district, officials said on Saturday. And while humans are no longer picking them for bandages, scientists fear that bogs and swamplands could be drained or negatively impacted by agriculture and industry, or the peat will be used for biofuel. As the war raged on, the number of bandages needed skyrocketed, and sphagnum moss provided the raw material for more and more of them. As the spherical spore capsule dries, the operculum is forced off, followed by a cloud of spores. Sphagnum Moss was also used during the War in conjunction with Garlic, one of the best antiseptics. Sphagnum taxonomy has been very contentious since the early 1900s; most species require microscopic dissection to be identified. More than 90% of the bogs in England have been damaged or destroyed. There are over 30 species of Sphagnum moss in Scotland, ranging in colour from red and pink, to orange and green. This remarkable spongelike quality comes from Sphagnum’s cellular structure, says Robin Kimmerer, professor of ecology at SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry and the author of Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. A Scottish surgeon-and-botanist duo had an idea: stuff the wounds full of moss. Macmillan Publ. Sphagnum, or ‘bog moss’, were used during World War I (1914-1918). [18], As with many other mosses, Sphagnum species disperse spores through the wind. or Sphagnum Moss Is a Source of Drinking Water Sphagnum moss, and many other mosses for that matter, are extremely spongy and hold lots of water. [28] The moss inhibits the growth of microbes and reduces the need for chlorine in swimming pools. Sphagnum has found use since ancient times in home-made sanitary towels and as a form of nappy. [13] It is unknown whether the leafy stage can produce such gemmae. [31] Some efforts are being made to restore peat bogs after peat mining, and some debate exists as to whether the peat bogs can be restored to their premining condition and how long the process takes. The top of the plant, or capitulum, has compact clusters of young branches. They also store large amounts of carbon, which helps reduce global warming. [45] This "farming" is based on a sustainable management program approved by New Zealand's Department of Conservation; it ensures the regeneration of the moss, while protecting the wildlife and the environment. Ayres writes, sphagnum was just as popular on the other side of the battle lines. When this fungus and other agarics attack the protonema, Sphagnum is induced to produce nonphotosynthetic gemmae that can survive the fungal attack and months later germinate to produce new protonema and leafy gametophytes. Peat moss is used to dispose of the clarified liquid output (effluent) from septic tanks in areas that lack the proper conditions for ordinary disposal means. Soon afterwards, the protonema develops buds and these differentiate into its characteristic, erect, leafy, branched gametophyte with chlorophyllose cells and hyaline cells. Wetland Restoration: A Handbook for New Zealand Freshwater Systems. [23], Decayed, dried sphagnum moss has the name of peat or peat moss. Fraser and P.A. Dried Sphagnum can absorb up to twenty times its own volume of liquids, such as blood, pus, or antiseptic solution, and promotes antisepsis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Sphagnum They have pores and soak up water like a sponge. But in the end, there simply wasn’t enough cotton—a substance that was already in high demand for uniforms and its recently discovered use as an explosive—to go around. 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