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How is sphagnum different from cuckoo flax: are there any similarities, a brief comparison table

How is sphagnum different from cuckoo flax: are there any similarities, a brief comparison table

Sphagnum and cuckoo flax are different types of moss, which are characterized by a large number of common features. These plants are large and prefer high humidity. They lack true roots and reproduce by spores. However, there are some features that make up the difference between these mossy crops. So what exactly is the difference between sphagnum and cuckoo flax?

What mosses look like

Sphagnum, which is often called peat or swamp, is a genus of higher spore cultures of the Bryophytes department. Its name translates as "sponge". This is due to the high absorbency that is the hallmark of this crop.

The plant is characterized by white-green, brown or red color. The stem does not have rhizoids and has a regular bundle-branched structure. On top of the stem, the branches form a head. They have stem, single-layer, branch leaves.

Kukushkin flax is also often called polytrichum. It is a perennial moss, which has a fairly large size. At the bottom of the culture are primitive analogues of roots - rhizoids.

Initially, the plant develops a horizontal primary stem that has no leaves. After this, a secondary straight stem appears, which has narrow and long leaves, covering the entire plant. Each leaf has an assimilation plate and a large vein. The bottom of the foliage is shaped like scales.

Their main differences

Comparison of the moss species under consideration can be carried out according to different parameters. The difference between them affects a number of aspects.

By range

The considered types of mosses in nature are found in different places. However, sphagnum mainly grows in swamps, and cuckoo flax grows in forest or mountainous areas.

As for the habitat, the bogweed grows mainly in the temperate climate of the northern hemisphere and forms upland sphagnum bogs there. Also, the culture is found from tropical mountain belts to the Arctic regions of the planet.

Polytrichum is common in temperate latitudes in the northern hemisphere. It is also found in Mexico and several Pacific islands. There is a plant in Australia and New Zealand.

According to the structure of the stem

An important difference between the cultures under consideration is their structure. Sphagnum has a branching stem. The leaves of the plant do not have a central rib. Moss has a soft and delicate texture. Kukushkin flax looks like a small Christmas tree.It has a straight stem with narrow leaves along which the central rib is located.

Also, plants can be recognized by color. Sphagnum often has a whitish tint. However, there are also brown, red, red varieties. Polytrichum has a green tint.


Both types of mosses do not have a full-fledged root system. However, cuckoo flax has formations in the form of rhizoids. They are filamentous processes that allow the moss to stay on the substrate and receive food. Sphagnum is devoid of such a system and has no semblance of roots. It is able to absorb moisture like a sponge.


The difference between different cultures lies in the boxes filled with spores. In sphagnum, they resemble small beads. Cuckoo flax sporangia are distinguished by their elongated shape. In addition, they have a cap covered with hairs.


Sphagnum is actively used in medicine. This is due to the presence in the composition of its cells of a special acid that kills bacteria. Previously, the plant was used as a dressing. This is due to its ability to absorb a lot of moisture. Polytrichum is more often used as a heater.

Comparison table

The main differences between the cultures under consideration are summarized in the table:

Forest and highlandsRootsNone. There are rhizoids.StemStraight, branching.Straight, does not branch.
Criterion SphagnumCuckoo flax
ClassSphagnum mosses Leaf mosses
HabitatMarshes and forests

The considered types of mosses have a number of features and differences. The difference between them concerns appearance, growth habits, habitats and areas of use.

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