Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Indoor mosses

I found Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans with ripe capsules in an orchid pot in a friend’s house today. At least I assume this is what it is, as while I don’t think there’s anything else that’s native it could be, there’s always the possibility of it being an alien import? The plants appeared smaller than typical elegans to me plus I couldn’t find any branchlets in the small sample I collected.
Also, last weekend I saw Leptodictyum riparium in fruit and growing well in the indoor water display at Wyevale Garden Centre in Llansamlet.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Lejeunea query resolved

Well I finally had another attempt at sectioning the Lejeunea stem and managed this result. <=6 medullary cells seems to be a good pointer for mandonii. I'm still not terribly convinced but wonder if there's a referee for this group?
stem in top half of section

Glamorgan Tetrad update

Dave Slade sent me another sync so thought I'd bring you all up to date, although he's still trying to figure out why Sam's 2013 records haven't been sent my way yet ... all in good time. There are 624 tetrads in Glamorgan and we now have 192 squares with 60+ species (31%), so almost a third of the way towards the nominal target! For ref  we have 144 squares with 70+ species (23%) and 51 squares with a 100 or more species (8%).

If you open up an image and use the left & right arrow keys, you can flick between the images and see progress since the last update much more effectively. Please ignore the dates on the maps and you may see some reductions in tetrad totals, these are mostly due to tidying up of boundary records.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


I put the '?' in the title to cover myself in case it's not a Jungermannia.

This is another one from Merthyr Common last week. It was growing as a dense patch on a wet, shady  rock face (sandstone/shale, fairly base rich).

I thought this might be J. pumila. This size is about right (stems 1.5-2mm across) and it is not aromatic (verified by Liz who has a better sense of smell than me). However, I can't find any fertile material, so perhaps it is not possible to confirm it is this species and not J. atrovirens, or something else entirely.

Comments welcome, thanks.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hook-leaf query

I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but this hook-leaved moss from Merthyr Common last week has me stumped. It was growing in a flush (or near the stream that ran along the bottom of it - I can't quite remember now) which was probably quite acidic.

I was sure this was going to be Warnstorfia exannulata but there is no trace of a nerve on most of the leaves (some have a faint short double nerve), and I can't see anything that fits the bill. Leaves are 2mm long, hooked but not forming complete loops. Suggestions appreciated, thanks.


This small winter soakway supports an odd little community with frequent Riccia subbifurca and Fossombronia caespitiformis (formerly hustontii). For ref, the most abundant species in the quadrat were Plantago coronopus and Erodium cicutarium, with other spp of interest including Scleropodium touretii, Lunularia cruciata, Sedum acreRiccia sorocarpa and Scilla verna.

Friday, 20 March 2015


I was up on the Gwrhyd yesterday and had a quick look at a site I came across in 2011; a small area of sloping Sandstone rocks in acid grassland. The Bryum alpinum was still going strong and was blood red in the bright sunshine, although the Lasallia pustulata was all crisped, but still distinctive. Without any exciting new finds the total for the square was taken to 108.

Morlais Hill

I arrived half an hour early before meeting the cameraman for a film about Cwm Taf Fechan, so popped up on to the limestone of Morlais Castle Hill to look for bryophytes.  I hadn't looked at this area before and had high hopes, but time was against me and I didn't get far.  Between SO045097 and SO046098 I noted the following more interesting species: Entosthodon obtusus on vertical clay by the footpath with Calypogeia fissa; Fissidens incurvusPleuridium subulatum and Tortula modica on anthills; abundantly fruiting Tortella tortuosa; Bryum pallens and Thuidium assimile (photo below) in turf by a flush; and Conocephalum salebrosum on damp limestone.

Barry, my dataset doesn't have any of the 2006 bryo survey data made by Graham and me; have you got it all from SEWBReC or BRC?  Things like Riccia beyrichiana, R subbifurca, Seligeria acutifolia, S pusilla etc.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Merthyr Common

I had a wonderful day out on the northern bit of Merthyr Common yesterday, exploring the crags and shaly overhangs above the Nant Morlais in SO0709.


A box full of samples still  to go through, but highlights so far include Hygrohypnum ochraceum (in the stream), Bartramia pomiformis (abundant along a 30m section of crag), Preissia quardata (single patch only), Scorpidium cossonii (with large Aneura growing through it, see pic), Polytrichastrum alpinum (frequent over a large area) and Palustriella commutata. Evidently, there is a fair bit of base enrichment here.

Preissia quadrata
Scorpidium cossonii and large Aneura
Bartramia pomiformis
Another nice surprise was this small clump of Fir Clubmoss, which I missed when I carried out a botanical survey here for the Merthyr Tydfil SINCs project back in 2007.
Fir Clubmoss

I'll blog again if anything else of interest turns up in the remaining samples.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Paviland Lejeunea query

I'm assuming this is just poorly grown lamacerina, but there appears to be a hint of mandonii about it. My first attempt at sectioning the stem failed, but I'll give it another go. It was found growing in tightly grazed turf, semi-shaded (n-facing) in the lee of a rocky Limestone outcrop on the cliffs at Paviland yesterday. The widest shoots are 0.8mm wide, which is probably just a bit too much for mandonii, but the leaf shape seems good on some shoots, so thought it was worth posting for an opinion.

Also a new colony of Entosthodon pulchellus at the head of the gulley at Foxhole.

Monday, 16 March 2015

North Gower wall

This wall in Landimore (SS46519321) supported an incredible abundance of Reboulia hemisphaerica along with the only colony of Entosthodon pulchellus I’ve come across away from the south Gower cliffs. This appears to be the only wall in the village that has not been repointed, so I am considering contacting the landowner to let them know how special it is?
a profusion of Reboulia hemisphaerica all along the wall
38 fruiting plants of Entosthodon pulchellus 
were counted during casual observations

East Cardiff in the rain

I don't enjoy mossing in the rain much, but it has its advantages in urban areas as far fewer people (and, more to the point, dogs) are out and about. Friday afternoon was pretty grotty but I had a couple of spare hours, so headed over to eastern Cardiff, where I've hardly done anything til now.

Wern-goch (ST2080) proved a surprisingly nice bit of urban woodland, with some clayey streams and plenty of mature trees. There was nothing remarkable among the 56 species recorded, but two appear to be new for ST28 (if the Atlas is still up to date for this hectad): Neckera pumila and Lejeunea lamacerina. Both were growing as small patches on tree trunks, the Neckera on a woodland edge Hazel and the Lejeunea on an Ash. The latter was about 1.5m up in a not particularly damp situation, so I expected it to be cavifolia until I checked under the microscope. Other species just about worthy of mention, in a Cardiff context, were Calypogeia arguta and Pleuridium acuminatum, the latter on several root plates of blown-over trees.

The wood lies in ST28A which is partly in VC35, so perhaps Sam has done some recording in this tetrad too.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

coastal tufa liverworts

A few more trips on the Glamorgan Coast over the last few weeks. Highlights include accidentally finding the most easterly record of the Maidenhair Fern Adiantum capillus-veneris associated with Pellia endiviifolia and Eucladium verticallatum on a small patch of tufa in a small crevasse in Penarth cliff (most easterly record) and only confirmed record in the ST17 square (ST1865769887). It was also at this location that gravity supplied me with a nice block of tufa, which I duly sliced in half – noting it was entirely formed from numerous layers of Pellia…I wonder how long this takes to form and could it be geochemically dated ?

Pellia endiviifolia forming its own lump of tufa 
Thus far the majority of the coastal tufa cliff face liverworts appear to be Pellia sp however Julian Woodman (NRW) took me to see the elusive Southbya tophacea at the Aberthaw-Fontygary cliff section. It took a bit of squinting but once located we could just about get close enough to it for a look with our faces pressed up against the dripping rock face.  It occurred over a 10-20 m section, not continuously but in small patches, the cliff face protected by scrub and other plants, providing shade and protection from sea spray and winds. In places it looked like it was being ‘overcome’ by other more vigorous mosses but that may just be my novice eye.
Julian Woodman up close and personal with Southbya and a lot of Maidenhair Fern
blink and you'll miss it:  Southbya tophacea in amongst bases of the Maidenhair Fern - perhaps it will be associated with the fern elsewhere across the coast??
After a spot of lunch in the Fox and Hounds we popped over to Southerndown to the Cwm Mawr stream (SS8936572263), that’s the one that forms the waterfall that cascades onto the beach below. The stream section up on the cliff is quite spectacular tufa forming stream jam packed with mosses and liverworts in amongst a thick matt of yellow iris over a 100m or so stretch.

Cwm Mawr (SS 89365 72263) view to east - at least 100m of tufa forming stream packed with goodies in between yellow iris matt. Worth a visit Barry ?
The most common liverwort at Cwm Mawr was a thallose liverwort with thallus >1cm, lacking obvious midrib (to me anyhow),  gammae in obvious receptacles, upper surface of thallus covered in air pores in the centre of polygonal markings,  the capsules are distinctive ‘mushroom shape’ and I cant seem to find this in ‘the book’ or get close using the key. Can anyone help ? Im guessing its a common species.
Cwm Mawr SS 89365 72263 tufa forming stream above the cliff. I'm stuck on the ID for this thallose liverwort can anyone help, its distinctive 'mushroom' shaped capsule should be a give away ?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Id query

I photographed this at Whiteford new slack last summer and I seem to recall failing/forgetting to identify it. There's no specimen, though I'm sure it can easily be relocated as I grabbed a grid ref (SS 43252 94187) and I remember there were a few robust wefts in this area. I'm guessing Palustriella falcata or Drepanocladus cossonii, but I'm not sure if it's possible from this image?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Cwm Cathan

Typical valley profile
Yesterday I walked an 800m section the Afon Cathan which runs along the Carms/Glam border. My aim was to do SN60P and I managed 65 species in the square, with and extra 16 species just outside. Given the amazing abundance of Hookeria and Hylocomium, I thought this ancient woodland would have produced a bit more variety than it did, however, the valley is not particularly incised, nor are there any real boulders or cliffs to speak of, plus it is very acidic. In contrast to Sam’s incredible list from Snowdonia, the most interesting species logged here included Brachytheciastrum velutinum, Dichodontium palustre (VC44), Fissidens bryoides var. caespitans, Lejeunea cavifolia, Nardia compressa, Orthotrichum stramineum, Pellia neesiana (VC44) & Saccogyna viticulosa. Some early flying Philopotamus montanus provided a nice diversion.

...about as wild and rocky as things got.
Above left Philopotamus montanus, right a few localised mounds of Pellia neesiana on the vc44 side
Hookeria lucens abundant
Nardia compressa

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Ulota calvescens in Neath Port Talbot

After looking at lots of Ulota specimens in the Pentrecwydau forestry between Resolven and Glyn Neath, which were mostly  bruchii/crispa types,  a suitable looking tuft with tallish sporophytes and sparsely hairy calyptra was spotted on a branch of one of the hundreds of willows (mostly Salix cinera) that occur along the service road at SN8425/0482. It was growing in an epiphytic community that included Orthotrichum affine, O. pulchellum, Cryphaea heteromalla, Metzgeria furcata and a few others. It was impossible to get a photo of the plant in situ, but we managed to sample a few shoots for identification. The photo below shows the obvious vitta, which I presume confirms the identification.