Sporophytes are uncommon in Sphagnum arcticum. All collections of this fairly common species have been made north of 59° N latitude in wet or moist tundra vegetation. In its typical dark brown color, this species is often quite distinctive in the field. Sphagnum fuscum is smaller, not as dark, and its stem leaves are not as truncate-lacerate. Sphagnum subfulvum has a glossy sheen, which S. arcticum lacks, and its stem leaf has an obtuse but not lacerate apex.
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