Thursday, 4 December 2014

Riparian bryos again

Like Barry I've had few opportunities to get out mossing during the last week, but yesterday lunchtime I managed some time in the sunshine and continued working my way north along the Taff Riverbank in Cardiff. This time I was in ST1381, just south of where the Taff passes under the M4, not far from Coryton roundabout. This only leaves one more monad to the north before the riverbank becomes inaccessible - which will mean I can turn my attention elsewhere.

A good range of riverbank species was recorded, but included nothing remarkable...the most interesting species I suppose being Cirriphyllum crassinervium - again growing on the base of a Sycamore in the flood zone, just like the other site at which I've seen it further downstream. The same Sycamore supported a very small tuft of Orthotrichum lyellii just above the high water mark.

Also a troublesome Schistidium on a Poplar trunk, which I'll try and get some photos of tomorrow.

On the way back to the car, I spotted a large pleurocarp growing on a soil bank by the Taff Trail, and was relieved to confirm when I got home that it was as suspected Cirriphyllum piliferum. This has been my 'bogey moss' for a while, and I couldn't understand why I hadn't spotted such a large moss previously. But on checking MapMate I see Barry, Hilary and Charles have only recorded it in about 10 tetrads across NPT and Swansea, so perhaps it is not especially common in Glamorgan.


  1. You're right George, we don't see Cirriphyllum piliferum very often and when we do find it, it is usually very very local in abundance. We don't see C. crassinervum at all. Perhaps we are overlooking it, but I suspect that it prefers calcareous areas. Great work with the river surveys by the way.

  2. George, I'm sure you won't mind me taking the liberty of adding these two maps, which show interesting distributions starting to develop. Looks like crassinervum will prove to be reasonably frequent in the calcareous parts of the county, but not so sure about piliferum, which I too find surprisingly elusive. Based on Sam's findings in Carms & Pembs, perhaps we should be seeing it a little more frequently on lane banks on neutral soils?

  3. Thanks for the comments both - and for adding the maps Barry.

    Perhaps C. piliferum is like R. triquetrus, i.e. common on lane banks in the west but scarcer in Glam and Mons?

  4. I nearly posted a pic of C piliferum from a lane bank in W Carms last week and was going to compare it with R triquetrus. It seems to be genuinely rarer in polluted lowlands and coastally

    C crassinervium is much commoner on limestone eg on Gower, but is locally frequent by silty rivers in VC35. You've got to get O spruced soon!

  5. Funny you should say that Sam, about to blog...