• sphagnum mosses
  • sphagnum mosses
  • sphagnum mosses

Sphagnum mosses AIDGAP

Field key to the mosses of Britain and Ireland

Written by two experienced field teachers, Sphagnum mosses AIDGAP covers all 36 species of the UK and Ireland.

Sphagnum mosses are a familiar part of the vegetation in many wet habitats, including woods, moors and heaths. When well grown they form brightly coloured carpets or hummocks and by moss standards they are really quite large. It’s tempting to make a quick identification based on colour and overall look. But since sphagna are not always well-grown, and can be morphologically variable, it is worth treating them as plants that need a little more attention.

For basic identification in the field, all you need is a x10 lens, although a x20 lens is very useful. The first step is to assign the specimen to one of six Sections, based on external morphological features. With a little practice these Sections are easy to recognise. This will enable you to move on quickly to the guide’s species-level identification keys.

The species accounts contain concise summaries of useful identification features. There is also a guide to the vegetation types that the individual species occupy. The book also includes short keys based on microscopic characters, to help with under-developed or otherwise problematic specimens.

This Sphagnum mosses guide is part of the FSC’s AIDGAP series (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants). Our AIDGAP guides are accessible identification keys,  suitable for non-specialists from age 16+. Since 1976 the AIDGAP project has produced over 40 keys to many different groups. Although written by specialists, all AIDGAP guides go through field tests in draft form. As with all guides in the series, the Sphagnum mosses AIDGAP underwent extensive testing before publication, by beginners and specialists alike. The guide was revised in the light of their experience.