sphagnum moss

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sphagnum moss

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:14 pm

Here in the pacific NW this ingredient grows quite well and is readily available. In club discussions, the topic of deadly spores it carries often comes up. I don't know how truthful this is or if it's part of an "urban legend". Those that insist it's true purchase a moss sold for orchids and is white in color and is alledged to be less harmful to humans.

Does anyone have anything more proveable than what I'm considering as "hear-say"? Oregato in advance Smile

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  coh on Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:46 pm

It's a real (but rare) illness...some info here:

http://www.peatmoss.com/sporo.php

http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/sporotrichosis/

http://www.austincc.edu/microbio/2704n/sporo.htm

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:38 pm

Thank-You Chris......anyone have anything to add between the dark colored spagnum which is alledged to harbor more of the spores, and the white which is reported to be less of an offender?

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:46 pm

Is the white stuff spagnum moss or Spanish Moss. Spanish moss is white or grey, but has a black core. It is sometimes used as an Orchid media. I don't think it would work for Bonsai

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Poink88 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:50 pm

Billy, spanish moss is not a moss.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:58 pm

I know that, it is related to bromeliads. But, it is sometimes used as Orchid media and it is called Spanish moss. I am a 70-year-old native of Florida. I know Spanish moss.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:11 pm

The white is a spagnum and i believe you when you say you know the difference. Just was kinda curious as to why one is less of a threat, is all.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:17 am

I wouldn't worry yourself to death over it, at any rate. Tons of the stuff are used by gardeners every year, and very few people ever are affected. You can wear gloves when you use it, or simply be careful about using it with an open wound -- cut, scratch, burn, etc. -- on one of your hands.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:59 am

Hi,
I collect and use a fair bit of sphagnum moss (not heard of the illness though, so handy to be made aware of the risks, however minor). Purely from observation so no scientific facts I find the 'white' sphagnum is perfectly formed growth from deeper down, away from the light. Some of my collecting spots have 12"-15" deep moss beds and the top 4-6" are green - where the light penetrates, and the moss fades to white the deeper you go, so I think lack of chlorophil has a lot to do with the colour of the moss.

I have seen small areas of scorched or bleached moss too - usually where trees are felled and intense sunlight hits the moss beds that were in dappled shade for years beforehand. Oven baked sterilised moss is pale too, so could be classed as white sphagnum maybe?

cheers Marcus

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  fiona on Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:39 am

Interesting comments about wearing gloves etc when using sphagnum as I was under the impression that in fact it had healing properties. I read somewhere that it was used in both World Wars for wound dressings as it inhibits bacterial growth.


Edit: Just googled and it can harbour Sporotrichosis (as can roses and cats.) Presumably the stuff I get in the garden centre has been treated - that's what I use.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:00 pm

Presume nothing. There's no government regulation of sphagnum moss that I'm aware of and if the baggers of the stuff don't HAVE to do it, they won't -- which is the fallacy behind self-regulation of industry.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:10 pm

JimLewis wrote:Presume nothing. There's no government regulation of sphagnum moss that I'm aware of and if the baggers of the stuff don't HAVE to do it, they won't -- which is the fallacy behind self-regulation of industry.

Fiona is in Scotland, UK, they may have stricter regs. My understanding that it is a fungus spore that lives in the sphagnum and it can be inhaled or get in through a cut.It does not happen often, but if it does it can be fatal. The spores may not be in the fresh moss.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  dick benbow on Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:18 pm

Thanks All, appreciate your contributions Smile

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  coh on Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:27 pm

I'm glad this topic was brought up. I had heard of the potential fungus problem, so I'm generally pretty careful when handling sphagnum. But I had no idea that "The fungus is commonly found in decaying vegetation, thorny plants, timber (lumber or wood), moss, and hay." (from one of the links I posted) I'm always getting stabbed by blackberry and raspberry thorns around our property...probably have a bigger risk of getting this fungus from all the yard work I do than from the sphagnum I use for potted plants!

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:30 pm

coh wrote:y...probably have a bigger risk of getting this fungus from all the yard work I do than from the sphagnum I use for potted plants!

Probably

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Poink88 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:48 pm

coh wrote:I'm glad this topic was brought up. I had heard of the potential fungus problem, so I'm generally pretty careful when handling sphagnum. But I had no idea that "The fungus is commonly found in decaying vegetation, thorny plants, timber (lumber or wood), moss, and hay." (from one of the links I posted) I'm always getting stabbed by blackberry and raspberry thorns around our property...probably have a bigger risk of getting this fungus from all the yard work I do than from the sphagnum I use for potted plants!
Most likely and don't forget that prick from a Rose bush thorn is the most prevalent cause of this.

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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:38 pm

we are all going to die of something and not many of use will pick what, when or where - so sphagnum moss fungus can just join the very long list of things that may get me one day. Its a fair trade off for such healthy trees and many successful air layers and i certainly wont be continuing to enjoy my bonsai hobby in gloves and a respirator, but everyone has the freedom of choice I guess.

cheers Marcus


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Re: sphagnum moss

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:40 pm

When it come to inhaling the spores, wetting the moss with hot water before use helps keep down the dust.

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