Plants green, light brown to brown. Branch leaves ovate-ligulate, apex broad, rounded, and truncate, hyaline cells with 20-40 small (less than 0.25 cell diameter) in mostly 2 rows.
Floating or stranded at margins of shallow acidic lakes and ponds; low elevations; Fla., Ga., Md., N.C., S.C.
Besides having different branch leaf porosity, Sphagnum cribrosum is usually distinguishable from the closely related S. macrophyllum by its paler brown color and distinctly broader and more truncate branch leaves. 'Wave forms' of both S. cribrosum and S. macrophyllum, seemingly developed in response to growing in shallow water where wave action is common, can have very odd phenotypes that may look more like Fontinalis than Sphagnum.