Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Scapania cuspiduligera (Untidy Earwort) revisited

We happened to be visiting a friend who lives near Mumbles, so I could not resist popping down for a better look and managed to take a couple of pics before the camera battery died. There's a good population at the site and I made a more detailed list of direct associates which I'll add to this post in 2015. A fitting end to 2014 - Happy New Year all and best wishes for the year ahead.
for some reason the image has rotated 90o clockwise?
I spent about an hour looking at the 60m section shown by the yellow line below, i.e. the lower 2m of damp cliff above car park between SS63008742 & SS62958744 and recorded 33 bryophytes and 34 vasculars. The Scapania cuspiduligera population was only noted along the eastern half of the line, the core of the colony being focussed at SS62998742. I only had a brief look at the western section and could easily have overlooked it, but the cliff here was wetter with more robust vegetation.
The main direct associates of the Scapania noted were Bryum capillare, Encalypta streptocarpa, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Homalothecium sericeum, Jungermannia atrovirens, Leiocolea turbinata, Lejeunea cavifolia, Schistidium crassipilum, Trichostomum crispulum & Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii. Other species noted that help characterise the vegetation included Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Didymodon tophaceus, Eucladium verticillatum, Fissidens adianthoides & Mnium stellare

This is a very family friendly spot well worth a visit if you down that way and I can highly recommend the Gower Breakfast in the Mumbles Pier coffee shop. On a more serious, note this site is likely to be affected/lost by the proposed redevelopment of the pier headland, though I'm not sure what stage it's at presently. I'm sure there must be a few more species to discover here so worth taking a look while you can! 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Scopelophila at Six Pits Branch

Pohlia sp?, Bryum pallescens & Cephaloziella sp.
With the help of Sam's report I was at last able to find the right spot, which as you can see has changed considerably in the intervening seven years; sadly not for the better and only a few tufts of Scopelophila cataractae could be located in the remaining parts of the colony not covered in brash or scrub. I did not quite manage to line up my shot with Sam's 2007 image, but the white markers I have added help show the changes that have taken place.
Sam's 2007 image when the colony was a healthy 4m x 2m patch
today's image showing approximate frame position of Sam's photograph above
dumped brash and encroaching scrub are major threats to this population
I'm guessing the brash is being dumped by contractors responsible for the amenity plantings, so some detective work may be needed to prevent more material being added. Sam, I'm not sure if this is something you might want to take on in an official capacity, but I suspect if the ground is cleared there's a chance the species might recolonise some of the lost ground. In addition to the brash, leaf litter from encroaching scrub is another issue that is problematic as it is enabling pleurocarps such as Hypnum and Thuidium to dominate. Some limited scrub clearance and raking off of litter might could prove beneficial if it can be arranged? Alternatively I would be happy to do a bit of gardening myself, though I would not have the facility to remove arisings off site.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Scapania query

Noted on the damp rocks of the Knab car park SS63008742 during a chip shop stop. I'm assuming this is just aspera, but the clumps of gemmae on the leaf tips looked conspicuously dark brown through the lens, rather than the bright green of aspera I've seen previously. The plants were all very small, in fact the shoots were not much wider than the Lejeunea cavifolia it was growing with. The antical lobes appeared not to be particularly decurrent, which I assume is atypical of aspera?
car park cliff with lots of liverwort-rich clumps,
many with abundant L. cavifolia
base of antical lobe only weakly decurrent

Microbryum query

The spores of a fruiting patch of Microbryum growing in the splash zone of Bracelet Bay SS62878725 had me a little puzzled. Given the lack of any peristome, I suspect they are extreme davallianum rather than starckeanum but could be hybrid material?

Aloina ambigua at Port Eynon

Sam, I know that I've run this one by you before, but just wanted to be absolutely sure of the id, as to me it is still somewhat ambiguous, suggestion not intended! The site is the Poa bulbosa site in the overspill car park, which is now growing well and is part of a luxuriant, if extremely short, Rabbit-grazed sward. Other bryophyte components noted in the vicinity of the Aloina at SS46768509 included Didymodon fallax, Barbula convoluta var. convoluta, Bryum dichotomum, Brachythecium albicans, Microbryum davallianum var. davallianum, Cratoneuron filicinum & Pseudocrossidium hornschuchianum. Note that the peristome in the image below has been squashed, so is projecting further beyond the capsule mouth than is the case for intact capsules (which typically only show about half of the basal membrane). Spore measurements from ripe dehiscent capsules (n=10) µ=15.4µm are more indicative of ambigua than aloides, so any clarification would be welcome.
approximate extent of colony in the overspill car park
with scattered patches throughout

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


Have a great Christmas folks, with best wishes to you and your families.
Barry & Sandra

Aberdulais Jungermannia query

Here are a couple of pics of the non-fruiting Jungermannia from the drippy cliff at Aberdualis – the assemblage included Tha.alo., Fis.osm., Pel.end., Cra.fil., Gym.aer., etc. so with some basic influence. I’m not expecting a definitive outcome but the purplish rhizoids and cell measurements [leaf cell width (n=10) 39.5µm & cortical cell width (n=10) 36.6µm] are suggestive of Solenostoma (J.) paroicum – any thoughts welcome.

Monday, 22 December 2014


A site visit to a small residential development just above Aberdulais today took the tetrad total for SN70Q from 65 to 105. The development footprint comprised cleared land where some garages used to be, but the ownership included woodland that extended down to the river. Fortunately the owner is very wildlife-friendly and is keen to improve the woodland, which has plenty of Rhododendron, Impatiens and Fallopia targeted for eradication. Unsurprisingly the immediate riverbank was the most interesting part of the site and included a nice drippy cliff to boot.
Amphidium mougeotii on upper coal measures
shale and sandstone sequence
The highlight was another new site for Jubula hutchinsiae, though this time, just a small 10cm x 5cm patch amongst mossy rocks ~30cm above winter water line at SN77380019. Other species of note included Amphidium mougeotii, Fissidens osmundoides, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Heterocladium heteropterum var. heteropterum, Jungermannia atrovirens plus another Jungermannia non-fruiting species, Marsupella emarginata var. emarginata & Saccogyna viticulosa.
Jubula location just below lower corner of notebook

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cardiff Gate

I see your species list, George, and counter it with consummate mundanity: 28 ruderal grots in ST28B.  I suspect that none will be new for the tetrad, but I figured it was worth jotting a few things down as I exercised Badger (dog not child) on our way back from Chichester.  Highlights, hmm, perhaps Fissidens viridulus, Syntrichia latifolia, S. ruraliformis and Tortula truncata.  I only noted two epiphytes on one tree, so a targeted epiphyte search in that square would be useful.


Compared to the last two posts on the blog this one is a little mundane, so if you're hoping for unusual species then stop reading now!

ST17E (north of St Fagans) isn't the most exciting looking tetrad on the face of it, being mostly improved pasture. However, it does contain two long sections of disused railway line, some arable, small woodland blocks and Tydu Marsh SSSI. There are around 29 species recorded in this tetrad, nearly all of them from CCW surveys at the marsh in the 90s (according to the schedule this supports the best population of Broad-leaved Cotton-grass in VC41).

I've been feeling bryologically starved of late, so yesterday morning I sneaked off for a couple of hours and walked some of the footpaths and old railway lines in the east of the tetrad. It was like revisiting an old friend, as I last walked this area for the Bird Atlas in 2008.

Nothing remarkable was recorded, but I noted 49 taxa in total, taking the tetrad list past the 60 mark - and there should be plenty more if the arable and the SSSI get a proper look.

The most interesting bit yesterday was the flushed banks of the railway cutting in the photo below, which supported Brachythecium rivulare (fruiting), Thuidium tamariscinum, Plagiochila porelloides and Fissdens adianthoides.

Other species just about worthy of note elsewhere were fruiting Brachythecium velutinum on a hazel branch, Fissidens incurvus fruiting abundantly on a soil bank at the edge of some improved pasture and Didymodon sinuosus on a rock (limestone?) at the base of a hedge.

Saturday, 20 December 2014


Hopefully today's efforts will have taken both SN60E and SN60J comfortably over the 60 species mark, but I still have quite a bit of material to look at from this site before entering the data. The main highlight was the discovery of a huge colony of Jubula hutchinsiae which extended downstream from the waterfall at SN61960856, where there was a 3m high x 8m wide wall of loose and dripping rock covered in the stuff, but it was also frequent to at least 60m downstream, at which point I headed away from the stream. Saccogyna viticulosa was abundant on a large, nearby rock face that was drier and Thamnobryum alopecurum was noted fruiting freely in patches.

I also managed to have a quick look at the riverbank of the Loughor and found some non-fruiting Orthotrichum which fits rivulare based on cell size. It was growing only 0.5m above the water level on a few small Salix trunks along with Leskea polycarpa fruiting O. diaphanum and a little blackened O. affine. Given it was not in fruit, any thoughts on this welcome [There is some fruiting material in one of my samples so happy with this now].
On the vascular plant front, this 50m hedge was stuffed full of Ruscus. The owner said it had been there for the 37 years he'd lived there, so probably introduced with the Holly as hedging well before this.

Sun-drenched crag

Buckland Hill above Bwlch (between Brecon and Crickhowell) is a bracken infested common, part of which has been planted with conifers.  It doesn’t look very appealing, but there are some tiny east-facing crags, which I have looked at on hundreds of occasions when driving by, which could have a few bryo species not found elsewhere in the tetrad.   Had day off work today so decided to wander the 2km from home to have a look – 15 minutes of smashing through bracken, gorse and bramble on the common and I arrived at the crags. 

The flat tops of the crags were enriched by the few stock that graze the area and the vertical faces weren't too promising.  I could see some more mossy rocks below the base of the crags so clambered down and found some nice patches of Pterogonium gracile, the tiniest patch of Hedwigia stellata and, rather unexpectedly on a damp area of the vertical face, a couple patches of Campylopus fragilis (don’t see it very often in VC42 – mainly upland rock ledges – is it mainly coastal in Glam?) together with a bonus patch of Tortella bambergeri, so it was probably just about worth all the scratches.

Elsewhere on the hill there were a few tiny rock exposures – again mostly highly enriched with dung, but a couple had Scapania compacta.   With River Usk running through southern part of this tetrad it will probably turn out to have quite a high species total, despite about 3/4 of the area being improved grassland.  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Another fruitless search for Tongue-leaf Copper-moss

Today I had another look for the Scopelophila at Six Pits Branch and a very brief look at Atlantic Close. It is really frustrating me as I cannot find it despite having Sam's 10-fig grid refs. I refuse to believe it's gone as there are sizeable areas of ground that are covered in Weissia controversa var. densifolia, along with the Brachytheciastrum velutinumCephaloziella spp. etc also noted by Sam. Unfortunately the grid ref takes you to an area that is dense impenetrable scrub, so I'm guessing there's something up with either the gps reading or the calibration of the Google map (stick SS67919668 into grabagridref and you'll see what I mean) - perhaps I should have used my gps to relocate. The Atlantic Close sites look less favourable for refinding as these are now both heavily scrubbed over and there's a lot of leaf litter. I'm thinking perhaps I'll be better off looking for a colony of my own next time I'm down that way...
W. controversa var. densifolia growing below galvanized fencing,
though it also grows extensively on the metalliferous soils in this
area along with Bryum pallescens

A venture into Carmarthenshire

East Marsh is not the most inspiring bryophyte habitat, but it's great for birds
part of a flock of 1842 Golden Plover
Yesterday, whilst doing a recce and preliminary survey of Golden Plovers on the East Marsh at Pendine I recorded 45 spp in the bryologically-dull bit of SN20Z, plus 15spp in a tiny bit of SN20Y. Most of the interest was found on the walls and gravelly laybys, with the best of a limited range being Archidium alternifolium, Brachythecium mildeanum, Didymodon luridus, Didymodon nicholsonii, Didymodon rigidulus, Didymodon sinuosus, Rhynchostegium megapolitanum and good quantities of Tortella nitida.

Remotest north Glamorgan

It's a long slog across the Breconshire moorland to get to Llech Sychryd on the Nant Hir (SN991073), but this appeared from the OS map to be a potentially interesting waterfall (with HEP potential so needing bryological exploration) so it needed to be checked.  Was it worth it?...

No, not really.  I noted 78 species on the east bank, but most were commonplace bryophytes of wooded valleys.  Highlights were Jungermannia obovata on a seeping shale rockface at SN99190736 - initially misidentified as J. sphaerocarpa but upon checking found to have a perigynium - and Neckera crispa & Gymnostomum aeruginosum on a slightly base-enriched outcrop at SN99060728, but the area behind the dramatic waterfall was very base-poor.  Supporting cast included Heterocladium heteropterum, Saccogyna viticulosa, Fissidens celticus, Lejeunea lamacerina, Gymnocolea inflata, Jungermannia pumila, Bartramia pomiformis, Ditrichum heteromallum and Sphagnum squarrosum.  I mustn't grumble, but I'd hyped the place up in my mind and walked 3km to get there.  The massive rock slab through which the waterfall cuts was really spectacular, but sadly it was in VC42 and I didn't have time to make a list.

The tetrad list was bumped up by a few ruderal species on the Nant Hir Reservoir dam, including Bryum pallescens, Pseudocrossidium hornschuchianum and extremely inland Syntrichia ruraliformis.  There appears to be just one previous VC41 record from the tetrad - Barry's Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus from Nant-hir viaduct - so my 99 species are almost all new.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Another Schistidium query

I finally got around to looking at a Schistidium collected from the Taff riverbank in Cardiff, which I alluded to in a previous post on 4th December. It was growing on a poplar trunk in the flood zone (or just above it). Photos below.

Most of the leaves lack hair points but a few have them - these are toothed (see pic). I thought it might be apocarpum, due to the toothed hair points and long capsules, but the lack of hair points on most leaves concerns me.  In this respect it more closely resembles platyphyllum, but the leaves seem too narrow for that (certainly narrower than my previous example of it which Sam identified).

Any comments welcome!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

subsp. & vars. continued

I have added a few more queries (in yellow) to the subsp. & vars. guidance tab for Sam to comment on. I'll try and go through them alphabetically and once Sam has suggested how we record each taxon it would be great if folks can adjust their records in MapMate accordingly, so we can sort out homes for the binomial, trinomial and variety orphans.

Sam I'm hoping you will now be permitted to edit this page, but if it's easier for you to simply add a comment then do whatever is easiest for you.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Atlas is already out of date :-)

I had a brief stop in SN22C and SN22D today on my way back from Pembs.  Both tetrads had ca30 previous records, both produced about 40 today, and both were frustratingly typical of the 'Dairy Zone'.  Anyway, a surprise find on the roots of an old Ash in a field corner was Leskea polycarpa, which is in the Atlas with a pre-1950 dot for SN22.

Here's the out of date book.  How can anyone resist it!

Friday, 12 December 2014

It's here at last

Fortunately I'm working at home today as the postman just arrived bearing the new bryophyte atlas. I'm away with family in the Wye Valley this weekend so will look forward to tucking into it during the long dark looks very tasty.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Possible Weissia rutilans

On the way back from a site visit to Mewslade today I stopped off in SS48T at Scurlage (a square dominated by arable and little else) in an attempt to add to the paltry 29 species recorded there. I grabbed a sample from a fruiting patch of Weissia with seemingly plane leaf margins that was growing on a bare patch of loamy soil in the centre of the track amongst low grasses. Expecting it to be W. brachycarpa var brachycarpa, I was surprised to find it had a rudimentary peristome when I pulled an operculum off first one then two capsules. The leaves are heavily coated in crud and few seem a little inrolled, so very much a provisional id for now. I'll post some pics later for comments.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Schistidium query 2

There were just a couple of tufts of this growing on a sandstone rock in a small lowland stream near Gorseinon. I first suspected it might be rivulare, but am now thinking possibly apocarpum without a hyaline apex? Shoots turned to one side.

Just a few more pics...
exothecial cells
large adaxial cells in costa
large adaxial cells in costa
cells towards leaf base
cells towards leaf base