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peat moss

noun
1.
Also called bog moss. any moss, especially of the genus Sphagnum, from which peat may form.
2.
such moss after it has been dried, used chiefly as a mulch or seedbed, for acidification.
Origin
1225-1275
1225-75 for earlier sense; 1870-80 for def 1; Middle English petemos (in placename) peat bog
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for peat moss

peat moss

noun
1.
any of various mosses, esp sphagnum, that grow in wet places in dense masses and decay to form peat Also called bog moss See also sphagnum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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peat moss in Science
peat moss  
Any of various mosses of the genus Sphagnum, growing in very wet places, especially bogs, around the world. The leaves of peat moss have large dead cells surrounded by smaller living ones that contain chloroplasts. The walls of the dead cells are perforated and readily absorb water, up to 20 times their dry weight. The walls also contain phenol compounds that resist decay and have antiseptic properties. Peat moss releases hydrogen ions that increase the acidity of the water in bogs. Because of its ability to absorb liquids, peat moss is sometimes used as diaper material by traditional peoples and was once used in making bandages. Peat moss is now used primarily to increase the water-holding capacity of soil. Also called sphagnum. See more at bog.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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