The sporophytes of Sphagnum angustifolium are somewhat common. This species is distinguished from similar ones in sect. Cuspidata by the small, triangular, obtuse and appressed stem leaves. It also often has a pink stem, as opposed to the reddish branch bases seen in some other species of the section. Sphagnum balticum has stem leaves that are more lingulate-triangular as well as spreading from the stem. Sphagnum angustifolium belongs to a subgroup within sect. Cuspidata usually referred to as S. recurvum, in the broad sense, a group of mostly carpet-forming species that differ from other members of the section in having pairs of pendent branch buds visible between the capitulum rays. The group also includes S. brevifolium, S. fallax, S. flexuosum, S. pacificum, S. recurvum, S. rubroflexuosum, and S. splendens.
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