Difference between sphagnum and cuckoo flax.

The sphagnum moss and its biological relative, the cuckoo flax, have many characteristics in common. Both are relatively large and, like other similar plants, prefer a waterlogged environment. Each of the two plants lacks true roots and can multiply by spores. But there are features that make the difference between these representatives of the bryophytes.

What mosses look like

Below are the images of both plants... This is sphagnum:


And in this photo - kukushkin flax:

Kukushkin flax


The discussed moss species grow in nature in different places. However, sphagnum is found mainly in swamps, forming peat there, and cuckoo flax - in forests or mountains. Plants can be recognized by their color. Sphagnum is often spread with a light carpet. It is not without reason that it is known to many as "white moss". But there are many species of this plant, and among them there is brown, reddish, red sphagnum. As for the cuckoo flax, its color is green.

An important difference between sphagnum and cuckoo flax is its structure. The sphagnum stem has a branching appearance. The leaves of the plant lack a central rib. This moss is gentle, soft to the touch. Kukushkin flax resembles a small Christmas tree. On its straight stem, there are narrow leaves, along which the central rib runs.

Neither moss has full-fledged roots. But the cuckoo flax belongs to biological representatives with formations in the form of rhizoids. These filamentous outgrowths help the moss to stay on the substrate and feed. The necessary substances move through the plant thanks to the simplest conductive system. Sphagnum, on the other hand, does not have such a system, nor any semblance of roots.

However, sphagnum absorbs moisture like a sponge. The fact is that it does not consist of living cells alone. Water accumulates in the dead hollow cells of the plant, which cuckoo flax does not have. By the way, if you plan to use any moss when installing a bathhouse, it is recommended to take sphagnum. It will prevent logs from rotting in excessive moisture conditions. Any moss is suitable for building a house.

You can also notice the difference between sphagnum and cuckoo flax by looking at the appearance of their boxes with spores. In sphagnum, they look like small beads. Sporangia (such boxes) of cuckoo flax, towering on long legs, are elongated. Their feature is the cap with hairs.

To what has been said, we can add that sphagnum is valuable for medicine, since a special acid is formed in its cells, which kills bacteria. This, along with the ability of moss to perfectly absorb moisture, allows the plant to be used as a dressing material, which often became very important in wartime.


Plant: sphagnum Plant: cuckoo flax
More common in the swampMore common in the forest
Often light, may have a different colorGreen
Branching StemStraight Stem
Leaves without central ribCentral rib in leaves
Absence of roots or rhizoidsThere are rhizoids
No conductive systemConductive system present
Absorbs moistureLess moisture-consuming
Rounded sporangiaElongated sporangia equipped with a cap
Medical value, insulationInsulation material