Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Spanish moss that really is a moss

With Graham's exciting rediscovery of Ray's Antitrichia curtipendula, it seems a good opportunity to show a couple of wet and dry photos of A. californica, photographed in-situ on a Holm Oak trunk last autumn during a trip to Andújar in southern Spain.
same patch wet


  1. That is a really interesting species Barry. I didn't realise it occurred in Europe. It is epiphytic on trees in mesic woodlands all along the west coast of North America. So it's global distribution is amazingly disjunct, occurring in the Mediterranean and along the Pacific coast of the USA and Canada. I wonder if any other bryophytes show a similar disjunction?

  2. From what I've read this appears to be a feature of many bryophyte species. I'm sure you're aware of the disjunct distributions of a range of British species/communities which are also found in British Columbia and the Himalayas. Spore dispersal can clearly allow a good few miles to be covered and I've heard Sam use the term 'vagrant' more than once. I guess the lesson is, like birds, never totally discount something purely on range. Saying that, I'm not sure our climate would favour A. californica!

  3. Yes, there are lots of examples of disjunct distributions and I suppose lots can be explained by the phenomenal long distance dispersal that spores are capable of, but I don't think this disjunction can be explained so easily.The global distribution of A. californica isn't limited by a Mediterranean-type climate - it occurs near Prince Rupert in British Columbia (and other parts of the Pacific Northwest)! But it doesn't occur on the South-west Atlantic coast of Europe, nor does it occur in South-west Ireland, which would seem to be suitable. In fact most of south-west Wales is probably suitable. This type of disjunction cannot easily be explained by the availability of suitable climates. And that is what makes it really interesting.