Capsules of Sphagnum fimbriatum, showing ripening specimens as well as a number that have already had their caps thrown off explosively by a build-up of gases within the capsule. Photo from the British Bryological Society.

Belongs within: Musci.

The Sphagnum mosses are, together with the Tasmanian Ambuchanania leucobryoides, the sister group to all other living mosses. They have thalloid protonemata, leafy shoots lacking rhizoids, and the capsules are not held above the gametophytes by a seta but by an extension of the gametophyte itself called the pseudopod. The capsules are globose and open explosively rather than through a peristome (Smith & Smith 2004). The known fossil record of Sphagnales extends back to the Late Permian, where they are represented by the genus Protosphagnum (Bateman et al. 1998).

Characters (from Smith & Smith 2004): Leaves unistratose. Antheridia globose, borne singly in axils of branch leaves. Antheridia in groups of one to five at apex of short lateral branch.

<==Sphagnales [Sphagneae]
    |--Protosphagnum BC98
    `--Sphagnum Linnaeus 1753 [Sphagnaceae] SK02
         |--S. australe Mitt. 1859 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--S. capillifolium WP05
         |--S. centrale Jensen 1896 SK02
         |    |--S. c. var. centrale SK02
         |    `--S. c. var. flavoglaucescens SK02
         |--S. compactum DC. 1805 [=S. rigidum var. compactum] SK02
         |--S. cristatum Hampe 1874 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--S. cuspidatum Erhr. ex Hoffm. 1796 SK02
         |    |--S. c. var. cuspidatum D03
         |    `--S. c. var. microcarpum D03
         |--S. dominii Kavina 1916 SK02
         |--S. falcatulum Besch. 1885 SK02 (see below for synonymy)
         |--S. fallax FHH01
         |--S. fimbriatum SK02
         |    |--S. f. var. fimbriatum D03
         |    `--S. f. var. robustum D03
         |--S. fuscovinosum Seppelt & Crum 1999 SK02
         |--S. magellanicum Brid. 1798 [incl. S. medium] SK02
         |    |--S. m. var. magellanicum D03
         |    |--S. ‘medium’ var. fusco-rubellum D03
         |    |    |--S. m. var. f. f. fusco-rubellum D03
         |    |    `--S. m. var. f. f. brachydasyclada D03
         |    `--S. ‘medium’ var. pallido-carneum D03
         |         |--S. m. var. p. f. pallido-carneum D03
         |         `--S. m. var. p. f. brachyorthoclada D03
         |--S. meridense J87
         |--S. novo-zelandicum Mitt. 1859 (see below for synonymy) SK02
         |--S. palustre Linnaeus 1753 [incl. S. cymbifolium, S. latifolium (nom. illeg.)] SK02
         |    |--S. p. var. palustre D03
         |    `--S. ‘cymbifolium’ var. condensatum D03
         |--S. perichaetiale Hampe 1847 [incl. S. beccarii Hampe 1872, S. vitjianum Schimp. ex Warnst. 1891] SK02
         |--S. subnitens FHH01
         `--S. subsecundum Nees 1819 [incl. S. contortum] SK02
              |--S. s. var. subsecundum SK02
              `--S. s. var. rufescens (Nees & Hornsch.) Huebener 1833 SK02

Nomina nuda: Sphagnum bicolor Hampe ex Broth. & Watts 1912 SK02
             Sphagnum centrale var. flavoglaucescens f. brachyclada Warnst. ex Paris 1900 SK02
             Sphagnum centrale var. flavopallescens f. brachydasyclada Weymouth 1903 non S. medium var. fusco-rubellum f. brachydasyclada [=Sphagnum centrale var. fuscopallescens f. brachydasyclada Weymouth 1903] SK02
             Sphagnum cymbifolium var. carneopallidum Warnst. ex Watts 1899 SK02
             Sphagnum australe var. grandiosum Warnst. ex Weymouth 1903 SK02
             Sphagnum grandifolium var. brachycladium f. laxifolium Warnst. ex Watts 1912 non S. novo-zelandicum var. laxifolium [=S. grandifolium var. laxifolium Warnst. ex Watts 1912] SK02
             Sphagnum subsecundum var. macrophyllum Müll.Hal. ex Watts & Whitel. 1902 nec S. moorei var. macrophyllum nec S. wattsii var. macrophyllum SK02
             Sphagnum rigescens Warmst. in Dusén 1903 D03

Sphagnum australe Mitt. 1859 [=S. antarcticum var. australe (nom. illeg.); incl. S. antarcticum, S. campbellianum (nom. inv.), S. confertum, S. antarcticum var. densissimum, S. falcirameum (nom. inv.), S. antarcticum var. fluctuans, S. antarcticum var. macrocephalum, S. macrorigidum, S. orthocladum (nom. inv.), S. antarcticum var. subsquarrosum, S. weymouthii] SK02

Sphagnum cristatum Hampe 1874 [incl. S. decipiens var. obovatum f. anocladum, S. grandifolium var. brachycladum Warnst. 1911, S. cymbophyllum (nom. inv.), S. decipiens, S. grandifolium var. densum Warnst. 1911, S. grandifolium Warnst. 1900, S. leionotum, S. maximum, S. decipiens var. obovatum, S. pachycladum (n. n.), S. decipiens var. rotundatum, S. decipiens var. obovatum f. squarrulosum, S. subbicolor, S. wardellense, S. whiteleggei, S. wilcoxii] SK02

Sphagnum falcatulum Besch. 1885 SK02 [=S. cuspidatum var. falcatulum D03; incl. S. brotherusii SK02, S. drepanocladum SK02, S. lancifolium SK02, S. wattsii var. leptocladum SK02, S. wattsii var. macrophyllum non S. moorei var. macrophyllum SK02, S. naumannii SK02, S. brotherusii var. plumosulum SK02, S. rodwayi SK02, S. scortechinii SK02, S. serratifolium SK02, S. serratum var. serrulatum SK02, S. trichophyllum SK02, S. wattsii SK02]

Sphagnum novo-zelandicum Mitt. 1859 [incl. S. novo-zelandicum var. commutatum, S. comosum, S. cymbifolioides Müll.Hal. 1851 (preoc.), S. pseudorufescens var. fuscorufescens f. dicladum, S. dubiosum, S. pseudorufescens var. flavescens, S. pseudorufescens var. fuscorufescens, S. contortum var. intermedium, S. laticoma, S. novo-zelandicum var. laxifolium, S. contortum var. laxum, S. moorei var. macrophyllum, S. novo-zelandicum var. molle, S. molliculum, S. moorei, S. mossmannianum (nom. inv.), S. pseudorufescens var. pallens, S. novo-zelandicum var. pauciporosum, S. pseudorufescens, S. novo-zelandicum var. pulvinatum, S. contortum var. scorpioides, S. subsecundum var. subcontortum, S. submolliculum, S. sullivanii, S. pseudorufescens var. virescens] SK02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BC98] Bateman, R. M., P. R. Crane, W. A. DiMichele, P. R. Kenrick, N. P. Rowe, T. Speck & W. E. Stein. 1998. Early evolution of land plants: phylogeny, physiology, and ecology of the primary terrestrial radiation. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29: 263-292.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. Patagonian and Fuegian mosses. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 63-126. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[FHH01] Frey, W., M. Hofmann & H. H. Hilger. 2001. The gametophyte-sporophyte junction: Unequivocal hints for two evolutionary lines of archegoniate land plants. Flora 196: 431-445.

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum – Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1-136.

Smith, A. J. E., & R. Smith. 2004. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press.

[SK02] Streimann, H., & N. Klazenga. 2002. Catalogue of Australian Mosses. Flora of Australia Supplementary Series 17. Australian Biological Resources Study: Canberra.

[WP05] Wikström, N., & K. M. Pryer. 2005. Incongruence between primary sequence data and the distribution of a mitochondrial atp1 group II intron among ferns and horsetails. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 484-493.

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