Today my search continued to discover Sphagnum moss sites in the North East of Scotland.
Many of the Sphagnum moss areas, identified from the past, have been drained on the whole to build new housing estates, used for farmland or to establish commercial forests.
Located west of Peterhead, I visited Rora moss a largely forested wood with pine trees and a small area of birch holding pillows of the elusive Sphagnum moss. The land was quite sodden, but not enough to deter me. There appeared to be four types of sphagnum in the area, but on closer inspection only two types in different stages of growth.
Through searching for Sphagnum moss in local bogs, thoughts of the practice of collector in wartime come to play a large part in the experience, where cold and dull overcast days didn't deter the hardy souls looking to collect the correct Sphagnum moss. This would be sent off from the local depot and forwarded on to the depot in Aberdeen, headquarters of the North East of Scotland.
It will be cleaned, sorted and made into medical dressings and bandages, and would then be bundled up and sent on to the battlefields where it was to be used to stem the flow of blood on the injured or to the war hospitals here in Britain to help the recovery of the returning wounded soldiers. The moss can soak up to 20 times its weight in liquid and is antiseptic, making it ideal for use in a medical dressing.
Thank you Murray, for joining me on all the mossy adventures.
Fiona Swapp lives and works in Aberdeen. She has over 30 years experience as a graphic designer and botanical artist.
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