Sphagnum alaskense most resembles S. magellanicum and S. centrale in its chorophyll cell cross section. The cross section characteristic is most similar to that of S. centrale but S. alaskense lacks thickened walls. Sphagnum alaskense also apparently does not have any range overlap with S. centrale, the latter being more of a boreal forest species. Sphagnum alaskense occurs in more open and less mineral rich sites near the coast. Sphagnum magellanicum has more well-enclosed chlorophyll cells and usually has some purplish coloration, whereas S. alaskense often has a quite distinctive pinkish brown color which, along with its often large flattened capitula, can give it a distinctive look in the field.
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