Plant Diversity


What are the uses of peat moss?

Peat moss (genus Sphagnum) grows mostly in bogs and is favored by gardeners for its ability to increase the water-holding capacity of soils. Due to large, dead cells in the leaflike parts, it is able to absorb five times as much water as cotton plants. Peat moss is also used as semimoist cushions by florists to keep other plants and flowers damp.

Species of Sphagnum also have medicinal purposes. Certain aboriginal people use peat moss as a disinfectant and, due to its absorbency, as diapers. Peat moss is acidic and an ideal dressing for wounds. Native North Americans used species of the genera Mnium and Bryum to treat burns. During World War I, the British used more than one million wound dressings made of peat moss.


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