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Montana Field Guides

Fringed Bogmoss - Sphagnum fimbriatum
Other Names:  Ragged Hair Peatmoss

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1

Agency Status
USFS: Sensitive - Known in Forests (BD)
Species of Conservation Concern in Forests (HLC)



External Links

General Description
Plants: Somewhat long, slender plants in open and frequently large mounds (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), green, ochre to brown (FNA 2007), green tinged with grey (dense and brownish in the Arctic); terminal bud of the distinct capitulum conspicuous, cone-shaped, greyish with white (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981); stem and branch leaves akin in size (FNA 2007).

Stems and Stem Leaves: Stems light green to pale golden-yellow (FNA 2007). Stem leaves spatulate (gradually broadening above the base) (FNA 2007) or fan-shaped, frequently broader than long (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981), mostly 0.8-1.5 mm in length (occasionally up to 2 mm); apex broad and torn, the lacerations frequently continuing along the margins partway (FNA 2007).

Branches and Branch Leaves: Branch stems green, circular in X-section, long and thin, dimorphic, occurring in clusters of 1-2 wider, longer spreading and 1-2 narrower pendent branches. Branch leaves egg-shaped or tending toward lance-shaped, 1.1-1.5 mm in length (sometimes up to 2 mm), straight, a little cupped; margins smooth; apex rolled upward and inward (FNA 2007).

Stem and Stem Leaf Cells: Stem cortical cells fine-walled, swollen, lacking fibrils (FNA 2007), with 1 pore at upper end (Crum and Anderson et al. 1981). Hyaline cells of the stem leaf frequently with 1-2 cross-walls, rhomboidal, lacking fibrils, largely reassimilated on the inner leaf surface and generally intact on the outer surface (FNA 2007).

Branch and Branch Leaf Cells: Branch stems encompassed by 1 layer of swollen, fine-walled hyaline cells that lack fibrils, some of these occasionally as clusters of 1-pored retort cells. Hyaline cells of the branch leaves with numerous pores along the margins adjacent to the green cells on the convex leaf surface, the pores small distally, becoming larger proximally, and displaying on the concave leaf surface fewer and bigger pores; green cells deltoid to trapezoidal in X-section, showing on both leaf surfaces, more widely so on the concave side, the end walls of the cells not great in depth (FNA 2007).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. fimbriatum: Present in Montana. Plants generally small and thin, the small capitulum with a noticeable terminal bud, green to ochre. Stem leaves widely spatula-shaped, 0.8-2 mm, well-torn along the wide apex and partially down the margins (FNA 2007).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. concinnum: Plants medium-sized and rigid, the capitulum medium-sized, the terminal bud not standing out, brown to brown-tinged with gold. Stem leaves spatula-shaped, 0.95-1.1 mm, torn across the wide apex and smooth along the margins (FNA 2007).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. fimbriatum: Capsules ripen from late spring into the first part of summer (FNA 2007).

Range Comments
North American Ranges

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. fimbriatum: Canada: Present in the lower tier; USA: WA, ID, OR, CA, MT and CO, and northeastern states, s to MO, TN, WV and MD (FNA 2007). Known in Montana from Beaverhead, Flathead, and Lewis and Clark Counties (Elliott 2016).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. concinnum: Canada; USA (AK).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 10

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. fimbriatum: Nutrient-rich (FNA 2007) wet soil and peat (Elliott 2016), at the edges of bogs and poor fens on mineral soil, somewhat exposed to wooded fens. Elevation: low to high (FNA 2007).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. concinnum: Poor fen tundra peatlands, growing into carpets and low hillocks. Elevation: low to medium (FNA 2007).

Reproductive Characteristics
Sphagnum fimbriatum var. fimbriatum: Monoicous. Sporophytes quite common (FNA 2007).

Sphagnum fimbriatum var. concinnum: Sexual reproductive state not known (FNA 2007).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Elliott, J.C. and A.K. Pipp. 2018. A Checklist of Montana Mosses (1880-2018). Updated 3 January, 2020. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 73 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Elliot, J. C. 1993. Second checklist of Montana mosses. Unpublished report. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1. Missoula, MT. 45 pp.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Keys for the Identification of the Mosses on the Pacific Northwest. Reprinted from 'Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest'. Published as Supplement No. 2 of the Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Nichinan, Miyazaki, Japan. 66 pp.
    • Lawton, E. 1971. Moss Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Hattori Botanical Laboratory. Japan: Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. 362 pages plus appendices.
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Citation for data on this website:
Fringed Bogmoss — Sphagnum fimbriatum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from