42. Sphagnum pulchrum (Lindberg) Warnstorf, Bot. Centralbl. 82: 42. 1900.
Sphagnum intermedium var. pulchrum Lindberg in R. Braithwaite, Sphagnac. Europe, 81, fig. 25g. 1880
Plants moderate-sized to robust, often quite dense and compact; green, brownish green, golden brown to dark brown; capitulum flat-topped and not especially 5-radiate. Stems green to dark brown; superficial cortex of 2 layers of enlarged, moderately differentiated cells. Stem leaves triangular to triangular-lingulate, 0.9-1.1 mm; appressed to spreading; apex apiculate, acute or narrowly obtuse, appressed to spreading; hyaline cells nonseptate and efibrillose. Branches straight to more typically curved, typically stout and blunt ended; strongly 5-ranked, leaves not much elongate at distal end. Branch fascicles with 2 spreading and 2 pendent branches. Branch stems green but often reddish at proximal end, with cortex enlarged with conspicuous retort cells. Branch leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 1.4-1.8 mm; straight to often subsecund; weakly undulate and slightly recurved; hyaline cells on convex surface with 1 pore per cell at apical end of cell, on concave surface with round wall thinnings in the cells ends and angles; chlorophyllous cells triangular to triangular-ovate in transverse section, very well-enclosed within concave surface. Sexual condition dioicous. Spores 25-28 µm; roughly papillous on both surfaces; proximal laesura more than 0.5 the length of the spore.
Abundant in poor fens and raised bogs, forming dense carpets at water level, especially on floating mats; low to moderate elevations; Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., Que.; Alaska, Conn., Ind., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Wis., W.Va.; Europe.
Sporophytes are uncommon in Sphagnum pulchrum. With its distinctive broad and strongly 5-ranked branch leaves, It is one of our most easily recognized species.