sphagnum

noun
sphag·num | \ ˈsfag-nəm \

Definition of sphagnum 

1 : any of an order (Sphagnales, containing a single genus Sphagnum) of atypical mosses that grow only in wet acid areas where their remains become compacted with other plant debris to form peat

2 : a mass of sphagnum plants

Illustration of sphagnum

Illustration of sphagnum

sphagnum 1

Examples of sphagnum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Nolan's solution included lining the bottom of the bed with 6 inches of water-absorbent sphagnum moss and a layer of hardware cloth. Kendra Parks, NOLA.com, "High above the Morial Convention Center, a rooftop garden grows fresh food for conventioneers," 26 Apr. 2018 Mines can use sphagnum to filter out toxins from pits where by-products are collected. The Economist, "Peru discovers the value of moss," 5 Apr. 2018 Botany cannot go farther than tell me the names of the shrubs which grow there,—the high-blueberry, panicled andromeda, lambkill, azalea, and rhodora,—all standing in the quaking sphagnum. Henry David Thoreau, The Atlantic, "The Swamp Lover," 6 Oct. 2017 Bogs are generally more open, characterized by an abundance of sphagnum, a superabsorbent moss, and the accretion of peat. Henry Wismayer, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Bogs," 16 Nov. 2016 Also known as sphagnum, peat moss thrives in cold, damp climates like those of the British Isles and northern Germany. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Humble Moss Healed the Wounds of Thousands in World War I," 28 Apr. 2017 And as botanist P.G. Ayres writes, sphagnum was just as popular on the other side of the battle lines. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Humble Moss Healed the Wounds of Thousands in World War I," 28 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sphagnum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sphagnum

1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sphagnum

New Latin, from Latin sphagnos, a moss, from Greek

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The first known use of sphagnum was in 1741

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More Definitions for sphagnum

sphagnum

noun
sphag·num | \ ˈsfag-nəm \

Medical Definition of sphagnum 

1 : any of an order (Sphagnales, containing a single genus Sphagnum) of atypical mosses that grow only in wet acid areas where their remains become compacted with other plant debris to form peat

2 : a mass of dehydrated sphagnum plants used as a surgical dressing especially during World War I

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