Friday, 5 December 2014

New river, new moss

After numerous riverbank surveys I'd more or less given up hope of finding Orthotrichum rivulare or sprucei on the Taff in Cardiff, so decided to make my first foray to the River Ely, at St Fagans, on my lunch break today. There, on the first alder I looked at, was O. sprucei! At least, I think it is sprucei rather than rivulare - small plants (mostly < 1cm tall) forming carpets and with large leaf cells - but if anyone disagrees based on the photos below please let me know.

Host Alder
Rubbish field photo but shows the low carpets of O. sprucei

I don't have the apparatus to measure the leaf cells, so can I be 100% sure it's not rivulare?

I only searched two alders - the second didn't have any sprucei, but between them they supported at least 16 epiphytes including abundant Leskea polycarpa and small amounts of Brachythecium plumosum, Cinclidotus fontinaloides and Homalia trichomanoides.


  1. Sam - that was great timing with your comment on the previous post. Any particular reason why you mentioned sprucei not rivulare? Is it the commoner of the two in VC35?

  2. Great find George - a county first!

  3. I so nearly looked at those St Fagans river trees last Monday - glad I didn't! O sprucei is much commoner than O rivulare in Mons. The leaf apiculus is a good ID feature so I'm sure you are right.

  4. The ultimate target there would be Myrinia. It is on the Usk in two places.

  5. Phew, thanks for leaving me that one! Myrinia would be very exciting. The Ely has a pretty active flood plain.