Friday, 6 February 2015

Leucodon revisited

This lunchtime I took the short cycle ride down to Bute Park to see how the patch of Leucodon sciuroides which I found last May was faring. As far as I know this is the only currently known patch of Leucodon in VC41. It is growing on a fallen-over semi-mature Sycamore on the Taff riverbank, the roots of the tree having been scoured out by the river leading to its semi-prostrate state.
Leucodon host tree, May 2014. Leucodon patch arrowed.
At the time, Sam commented "I'm sure it'll be a new colonist, though goodness knows where from. As far as I can find there are only 4 Glamorgan records, the most recent being from the 1970s."

Leucodon patch, May 2014
Leucodon patch, February 2015
Compared to last May, the patch appeared a little bigger - it seems to have made ground on the Isothecium myuroides which is above it and to the left in the photos above. It was also rubbing shoulders with Metzgeria furcata, Frullania dilatata, Hypnum cupressiforme var resupinatum and Amblystegium serpens.
Leucodon patch, February 2015
Elsewhere on the same branch grow Cryphaea heteromalla, Homalothecium sericeum, Rhyncostegium confertum, Orthotrichum lyellii and a Ulota sp. It's a good tree for epiphytes.

Like last year, I spent a while searching other trees in the park without luck. Perhaps there really is only this one patch of Leucodon in the area.


  1. Not sure what happened to my comment posted yesterday? I find it quite interesting how little the top, right-hand and bottom edges of the patch has changed, suggesting these plants don't necessarily spread that quickly and begs the question how old the patch might be? I dare say work has been done on growth rates of the epiphytes which must an interesting area of study.

  2. I was thinking the same thing. I'm sure Sam's right that it's a recent arrival, but it might have been there a good few years. The tree can only have fallen over in the last few years, but it might have been present before that (well above ground level).

    I need to let the park rangers know about it just in case they plan on tidying up this bit of riverbank!