"What are you looking at in this picture?" They answered, "Sphagnum moss and its spore cannons."
"What is the bog made of ?" They said, "Sphagnum moss, water, muck, grasses, and other things." Oh, this is good!
What makes the bog? "Well, the Sphagnum moss because it holds so much water and is so acidic."
Not bad! Not bad at all...after a year and a half!
By the way, there's also a cool history lesson in that picture... can you see it? Maybe I'll post on that next time.
Sphagnum moss makes up much of the bog you see here. The dead moss, or peat moss, has accumulated in thick deposits over time. The live moss on the surface is mostly hidden by the various sedges and other plants, but Sphagnum is there in the background, just like the many, many Rose Pogonia Orchids in this photo.
|Rose Pogonia Orchids|
|Purple Pitcher Plant Flowers|
However, Sphagnum moss has an incredible, explosive spore dispersal mechanism that deserves a shout out.
|Sphagnum moss with explosive spore capsules|
Popping peat moss!
video about the discovery of the fact that an exploding Sphagnum spore case generates a turbulent vortex. The video includes footage of the spore cannons "firing".
In the photo below, the cylindrical-shaped spore capsules have already fired their spores, or are about ready to do so.
|Boys on a bog slog|
I chose to post about the spore cannons and some of the Sphagnum's bog companions to add some "pop" and color to my mid January posts. In the picture below, the Sphagnum moss may be inconspicuous, but knowing it's there adds some "pop" to the colorful picture of the Grass-pink Orchids.
I could quiz my children about this bog picture as well, but I guess I won't, because I'm sure they haven't forgotten those amazing bee-bopping orchids, the Grass-pink Orchids. Also, since it's a bog photo, there is the ever-present Sphagnum moss.... of course they'll remember that. Another reason to wait to quiz the children is because I can see a number of bog-related things in the frame of this picture that I haven't pointed out to them... yet... I guess we'll have to go on another bog slog. Now, that is a pleasant mid-winter night's dream!