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[sfag-nuh m] /ˈsfæg nəm/
any soft moss of the genus Sphagnum, occurring chiefly in bogs, used for potting and packing plants, for dressing wounds, etc.
Origin of sphagnum
1745-55; < New Latin, alteration of Greek sphágnos a moss Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sphagnum
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Arnold, therefore, was provided with some sacks of sphagnum moss in which to stow his finds.

    The Woodlands Orchids Frederick Boyle
  • The sphagnum moss will be seen at the base of the upright plant.

  • I should side-graft them close to the collar and plunge them in sphagnum moss, leaving the top bud of the graft out to the air.

    The Nut Culturist Andrew S. Fuller
  • They are round and soft and mossy as hillocks of sphagnum in a green marsh.

    Glimpses of Three Coasts Helen Hunt Jackson
  • All around there is the general bog fragrance of sphagnum and water-lilies, and the woodsy perfume of the rose-colored orchids.

    A Northern Countryside Rosalind Richards
  • Then comes the chance of that wonderful moss the peat-moss, or sphagnum.

    The Romance of Plant Life G. F. Scott Elliot
  • The soil would at first be covered by a saturated moss-carpet of sphagnum and other mosses.

    The Romance of Plant Life G. F. Scott Elliot
  • Tangles of barbed greenbrier set with fierce curved thorns, and stretches of sphagnum bogs guarded the tree from the land side.

    Wild Folk Samuel Scoville
  • The white bog-moss (sphagnum palustre) powdered, is applied to excoriations in the skin of young children.

    Lachesis Lapponica Carl von Linn
  • Such growth may be seen if the corms are grown in a deep layer of sphagnum moss, or in a dark room.

British Dictionary definitions for sphagnum


any moss of the genus Sphagnum, of temperate bogs, having leaves capable of holding much water: layers of these mosses decay to form peat Also called peat moss, bog moss
Derived Forms
sphagnous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin, from Greek sphagnos a variety of moss
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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Word Origin and History for sphagnum

genus of mosses, 1741, Modern Latin, from Latin sphagnos, a kind of lichen, from Greek sphagnos "a spiny shrub, a kind of moss," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sphagnum in Science
See peat moss.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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