Catalogue of Sphagnum Moss

Sally Whyman, Katherine Slade, & Kathryn Childerhouse

Sphagnum peat mosses are fundamental to the ecosystems in which they grow, particularly wetlands and the formation of peat bogs. Without good identification and understanding of Sphagnum moss species, ecological projects such as monitoring and detailed surveys have reduced taxonomic grounding. To this end, this catalogue aims to make accessible the information relating to the Sphagnum specimens held at NMW.

The bryophyte specimens held in the NMW herbarium form the second largest collection of its type in the United Kingdom with some 280,000 specimens. Included in this number are approximately 18,000 Sphagnum specimens that make up this catalogue. Currently there are 84 Sphagnum taxa held at NMW. All of the taxa in the current Checklist and Census Catalogue of British and Irish Bryophytes are represented, plus an additional 46 overseas taxa. The overseas specimens make up approximately 30% of the collection.

The catalogue is in two sections, the analysis and the data. The analysis includes a description of the history and formation of the herbarium at NMW and current curatorial practices. Details of major exsiccatae, herbaria and personal collections held at NMW are described, with an analysis of the Sphagnum collection. There is an annotated list of the accepted taxa used, including any synonyms encountered whilst compiling the list.

To access the background to NMW herbarium and the analysis to the Sphagnum catalogue, download the Sphagnum Analysis PDF.

The data of this catalogue is accessible from two files, Sphagnum Catalogue Data Printable.xls and Sphagnum Catalogue Database.xls. The former is in a printable format. The latter is in a more searchable format, see section 2.6 of the catalogue analysis for advice on how to search for data.

In the printable version of the catalogue, there are links to H.L.K. Whitehouse stereoscopic slide images of most Sphagnum species. Links are accessible through icons (shown to the left) placed alongside the species names.

To access the catalogue, click on one of the links below:

Inaccuracies and inconsistencies are inevitable with processing such a large dataset. While every effort has been made to eliminate these, it is likely that some remain. The authors would appreciate any feedback on such errors.