i. Histosols get their name from a Greek word for tissue. Their identification badge is a layer of organic remains (the histic layer).
ii. The dead plant and animal material may be partly decayed but still recognizable (peat) or it may be decomposed into a featureless black mass (muck).
iii. Peat usually occurs in permanent swamps; muck is more widely distributed than peat, though it too is poorly drained.
iv. Organic matter accumulates because decayed micro-organisms cannot work well in wet soils.
v. Artificial drainage can make muck very productive, but the high cost can be offset only by very valuable crops, such as vegetables for urban markets.
vi. Peat is coarser, more acid, and less fertile than muck. It has little agricultural value except for a few specialized crops, such as cranberries.