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1 January 2017 Sphagnum beothuk new to Sweden
Niklas Lönnell
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Sphagnum beothuk was recently found new to Europe in Norway as the dark morph of Sphagnum fuscum proved to be conspecific with the north american S. beothuk. The Norwegian distribution suggests that it may also occur in other oceanic parts of northwestern Europe. In 2016, I made a brief survey of a number of mires in the province of Bohuslän in the westernmost part of Sweden. In three bogs, I found only S. fuscum, but in one bog this species co-occurred with S. beothuk. This implies that S. fuscum is the most common of the two species in the suboceanic part of Sweden. However, to determine the actual frequency and distribution of S. beothuk, a more extensive survey of bogs in the westernmost part of Sweden is required.

Sphagnum beothuk R.E. Andrus was originally described from New Foundland (Andrus 2006), and when the dark morph of Sphagnum fuscum Schimp. (Klinggr.) in Europe was scrutinized, it proved to be conspecific with S. beothuk (Kyrkjeeide et al. 2015).

The usually dark colour, the convex capitula of the shoots, and the fact that many hyalocysts lack perfect pores on the convex side in the upper third of the branch leaves, distinguish it from S. fuscum. Moreover, the branch leaves are often 5-ranked, and the stem leaves are usually less obtuse in S. beothuk than in S. fuscum. (Kyrkjeeide et al. 2015).

Sphagnum beothuk occurs in the oceanic part of the west coast of Norway, up to the province of Troms (Fig. 1). Given that some species that are common in the oceanic part of Norway, such as Scapania gracilis Lindb., Campylopus atrovirens De Not., and Hookeria lucens (Hedw.) Sm., have a few scattered occurrences also along the west coast of Sweden (Størmer 1969), it seemed likely that Sphagnum beothuk might follow the same pattern. The dark morph of S. fuscum had, however, not previously been reported from that area.

To investigate this, I visited a number of mires in the northern part of Bohuslän between 29 September and 1 October 2016. I chose this area, as the moss flora there is poorly known, except for Sotenäset, an area of 150 km2 near the coast (Bergqvist and Blomgren 1998). Only two previous records of Sphagnum fuscum were known from this area. I revisited one on them without finding the species. I then investigated mires along a 50 km gradient from north to south. I managed to find S. fuscum in four mires, and in one of them, Torrödmossen, S. beothuk also occurred (Fig. 1, 2). The species mainly grew in hummocks, but occasionally also on more flat ground (Fig. 4, 5).

Torrödsmossen is situated 15 km inland from the coast at Grebbestad in Bohuslän, southwestern Sweden, at an altitude of ca 125 m a.s.l., in an area with an annual precipitation of 750 mm. The vegetation has been described by Hallingbäck (1978), and some characteristics are presented below. It is a western, open and slightly raised bog, which is lacks a distinct bog margin forest. The dominant species in the hummocks are Sphagnum austinii Aust, and S. rubellum Wilson. S. tenellum (Brid.) Bory is common in the hollows. S. compactum Lam. & DC., S. molle Sull., S. pulchrum (Braithw.) Warnst., and S. balticum (Russ.) C.Jens. also occur on the bog, but none of them is dominant. Vascular plants such as Erica tetralix L., Myrica gale L., Narthecium ossifragum (L.) Huds., Trichophorum caespitosum (L.) Hartm., Rhynchospora alba (L.) Wahl, R. fusca (L.) W.T. Aiton., Drosera anglica Huds. and Carex limosa L. occur on the bog expanse.

Data from Norway suggests that Sphagnum beothuk has a distribution which is similar to that of S. austinii but slightly more oceanic (Kyrkjeeide et al. 2015). The two species also frequently co-occur. Indeed, I found the two species together at the Swedish site.

This fact could be used to predict the distribution of S. beothuk in Sweden (Fig. 2). This small survey indicates that S. fuscum is much more common. But, it would be worthwhile to look for S. beothuk at least in the most oceanic part of southern Sweden, within the core area of S. austinii (Fig. 2).

Figure 1.

Distribution map of Sphagnum beothuk (yellow squares) from GBIF (GBIF Secretariat: GBIF Backbone Taxonomy, doi: 10.15468/39omei, accessed via <> on 2017-03-30) with the new record in Sweden marked (white circle). The species certainly occurs more abundantly in Britain and Ireland than shown on the map, but the exact frequency and distribution of S. beothuk in relation to S. fuscum in this area is under revision.


Figure 2.

Map of southern Sweden, with occurrences of Sphagnum austinii registered at the Swedish Species Gateway (blue squares; <> accessed 2017-01-04), visited mires with only S. fuscum (yellow dots) and the mire with both S. beothuk and S.fuscum (black dot). Along the west coast of Sweden, from Bohuslän and southwards, there may be several suitable habitats for S. beothuk, especially within the core area of S. austinii.


Figure 3.

Habitat of Sphagnum beothuk at the Swedish site, Torödsmossen. (Photo: N. Lönnell).


Figure 4.

Wet Sphagnum beothuk growing at lower ground at Torödsmossen. Note the dark brown colour and the somewhat 5-ranked branch leaves (Photo: N. Lönnell).


Figure 5.

Sphagnum beothuk often grows in hummocks together with S. austinii as it did at the Swedish site, Torödsmossen. (Photo: N. Lönnell).


Sphagnum beothuk

  • SWEDEN, Province: Bohuslän, Parish: Tanum, SW-part of Torödmossen. 125, raised bog, 2016-09-29 Niklas Lönnell

  • N 58.696389, O11.492091, NL4333 (TRH-B38803/1),

  • N 58.696510, O11.492683, NL4346,

  • N 58.696510, O11.492683, NL4334 (TRH-B38802/1),

  • N 58.696695, O11.492700, NL4335.

  • All four specimens checked by Kjell Ivar Fiatberg 2017.

  • A specimen will be deposited in Stockholm (S) as well.

Sphagnum fuscum

  • SWEDEN, Bohuslän,

  • Tanum, SW-part of Torödmossen, Niklas Lönnell, NL4332

  • Håby, Hästskedmossen, Niklas Lönnell, NL4338

  • Skredsvik, Bredmossen SE of Saltkällan, Niklas Lönnell, NL 4339, NL4340, NL4341, NL4342

  • Svarteborg, Bredmossen S of Tångarna, Niklas Lönnell, NL4344, NL4345

  • Specimens from all sites checked by Kjell Ivar Fiatberg 2017.


I am most grateful to Kjell Ivar Flatberg, who has confirmed the identification of the specimens, and Tomas Hallingbäck and Anna Lejfelt- for comments on the manuscript.



Andrus, R. E. 2006. Six new species of Sphagnum (Bryophyta: Sphagnaceae) from North America. — SIDA, Contrib. Bot. 22: 959–972. Google Scholar


Bergqvist, S. and Blomgren, E. 1998. Sotenäsets mossor. — SBT-förlaget, Lund. Google Scholar


Hallingbäck, T. 1978. Torödsmossen — Tanums kommun : en mossemyr i norra Bohuslän : naturinventering. — Naturinventeringar i Göteborgs- och Bohuslän 1978/7: 1–19. Google Scholar


Kyrkjeeide, M. O., Hassel, K., Stenøien, H. K. et al. 2015. The dark morph of Sphagnum fuscum (Schimp.) H.Klinggr. in Europe is conspecific with the North American S. beothuk. — J. Bryol. 37: 251–266. Google Scholar


Størmer, P. 1969. Mosses with a western and southern distribution in Norway. — Universitetsforlaget. Google Scholar
© 2017 The Author. This is an Open Access article This work is licensed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY) . The license permits use, distribu-tion and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Niklas Lönnell "Sphagnum beothuk new to Sweden," Lindbergia 40(5), 11-13, (1 January 2017).
Accepted: 7 April 2017; Published: 1 January 2017

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