Bog builders

Did you know that Sphagnum mosses are essential bog building plants?

Did you also know that there are 34 different species found in the UK and that eight different types are present at Risley Moss?  

Why are they essential for bog building? Well, the plants have large empty cells, which can store up to 20 times their weight in water, helping to keep the bog moist. 

Sphagnum moss and other bog loving plants eventually break down to form peat which is crucial to absorbing carbon and storing it. So you can see why in this day and age, it's imperative to continue to protect and re-wet what remains of our peat bogs.

First World War

Did you know that Sphagnum moss has antiseptic qualities? It was used in the First World War as bandages because it kept the pH level low around the wound, inhibiting the growth of bacteria.  During the war 'moss drives' took place when volunteers were recruited to collect the moss. They would 'fill the sack three-quarters full, drag to hard ground and dance on it to extract the greater percentage of water'. 

Cotton grass also likes to grow in peat bogs. Its name is misleading as it is a sedge, not grass and the white fluffy seed head isn't cotton, it just resembles it. Cotton grass did have other uses and was once used to stuff pillows.

Did you know?

  • Sphagnum Moss are peat bog building plants
  • Sphagnum can grow up to 5cm long
  • It was used as an antiseptic during WWI