Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mosses of Central Florida 17. Sphagnum strictum

Sphagnum strictum occurs in dry woodlands, and forms whitish
branch heads that are more compact than those of S. palustre.
Sphagnum strictum Sull. (Sphagnaceae) occurs throughout northern Florida, as far south as
Collier County.  It is distinctive within the local species for its dry habitat preference and tolerance of desiccation. It occurs in oak hammocks and other dry woodlands, on dry, sandy soil.  It most often has a very whitish color, as its leaves consist of large water storage cells within which the photosynthetic cells are confined to very narrow strands. 

When dry, the branch heads become more feathery.  Photo by Alan Franck.
(from Franck 3787 (USF)
Sphagnum strictum produces sporangia in the spring, while S. palustre produces them in the Fall. 
The reddish sporangia of Sphagnum strictum appear
in the spring.

The leaf of Sphagnum strictum is composed mostly of large water-storage
cells, which appear as empty.  The cells are reinforced by fibrils wrapped
around each cell.  What appear to be thick cell walls are actually the very
narrow photosynthetic cells.

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