Thursday, 27 November 2014

Arable adventure

Inspired by Barry's and Sam's recent posts, I took my first tentative steps into arable bryophytes yesterday lunchtime, when I took a trip to the nearest arable fields to my house in my lunch hour. These are at Radyr, Cardiff (ST1279) and only 3 km from home.

I wasn't expecting much but the cereal stubbles were stuffed with bryophytes. I really felt like I'd stepped back in time two years and was a complete bryo novice again, the species were so unfamiliar - apart from a few waste ground regulars like Barbula unguiculata.

I've still a pile of material to go through but species identified so far include Phascum cuspidatum var cuspidatum, Ephemerum minutissimum (spores checked) and lots of crystalworts. Most were Riccia sorocarpa but there was also a second, less glaucous species, see photos below. I thought this might be R. subbifurca rather than R. glauca, based on the small size of the thallus branches (only just over 1mm wide), but I'm really not sure.

Any thoughts? Thanks again.


  1. What fun!! Crystalworts are just lovely. You'll be getting Anthoceros before you know it... I'm sure that's R glauca, as real R subbifurca is very small and narrow.

  2. Excellent, thanks Sam. As you say, it was great fun, and there seem to be hardly any arable bryophyte records from East Glam so there's lots of potential for discoveries.

    Yet another example of an otherwise dull habitat made interesting by bryophytes. There was really nothing else of interest except a few plants of Field Madder still in flower.

    The Ephemerum was the smallest fruiting moss I've ever seen. I'd never have spotted it in the field - fortunately it came home in a mixed clump with some other species.