sphagnum

noun

sphag·​num ˈsfag-nəm How to pronounce sphagnum (audio)
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 Made with a blend of sphagnum peat moss, humus, and perlite, this potting mix helps ensure good drainage to keep roots healthy. Renee Freemon Mulvihill, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 May 2024 Amend soil as necessary with materials like compost, manure, wood clippings, and sphagnum peat moss. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, 22 Mar. 2024 It's made up of sphagnum peat moss, along with vermiculite and perlite. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 17 Feb. 2024 The first plants to colonize land hundreds of millions of years ago, they’ve been used by humans for millenniums for everything from insulation and bedding to battlefield bandages (sphagnum moss has antiseptic properties). Jenny Comita, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2023 Cut your own plants right below the node, package them up in a moisture-retaining material like some sphagnum moss or a wet paper towel, wrap them up in cling wrap, add a little bow, and voila—a bouquet of cuttings ready to propagate into more leafy little ones. Helen Bradshaw, Popular Science, 9 Nov. 2023 Sometimes plants are sold in pure sphagnum moss, which must be monitored carefully to avoid overwatering. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 16 June 2023 Wrap an inch of sphagnum moss around the spot where the leaf and the stem meet. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 31 May 2023 Put moist sphagnum moss over the ringed area, cover it with clear plastic wrap, and secure it with twine or floral ties. Lynn Coulter, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sphagnum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sphagnum was in 1741

Dictionary Entries Near sphagnum

Cite this Entry

“Sphagnum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sphagnum. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sphagnum

noun
sphag·​num ˈsfag-nəm How to pronounce sphagnum (audio)
1
: any of a large genus of mosses that usually grow in wet areas (as bogs) and become compacted with other plant matter to form peat
2
: a mass of sphagnum plants

Medical Definition

sphagnum

noun
sphag·​num ˈsfag-nəm How to pronounce sphagnum (audio)
variants or sphagnum moss
1
: any of a genus (Sphagnum of the order Sphagnales) of mosses that grow in wet acidic 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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