Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Bessie's Meadow

This afternoon I decided to try and relocate the Pterogonium gracile and Hedwigia ciliata, both recorded by Quentin in 1969 at Bessie's Meadow at the north end of Rhossili Down. My other aim was to give the paltry 28 species tetrad total for SS49A a boost. As I started the walk up the hill I was amazed to find some healthy patches of Pterogonium on the very first rock I stopped to look at in the middle of the path (photos below)... result! It turned out that small colonies were scattered across the boulder field, especially in the lower parts.
plants in photo below part of the colony
on the largest rock in the photo above 

The highlight however was a boulder supporting scattered patches of Porella obtusata, new for the county. The large tongue-shaped lobules with larger central cells are diagnostic characters, but the habitat on siliceous boulders seems to be another helpful pointer.

As usual, I have a batch of other samples I've yet to check, the most promising perhaps being Frullania crusts which have the potential to contain fragifolia [sadly not, tamarisci was all I could find]. I also collected a few Grimmia samples in the hope of finding lisae, though I'm expecting these will be trichophylla [they were], plus there was an interesting tiny Fissidens with ripe fruit and long perichaetal leaves which looked interesting [see posting above]. Non-bryo highlights were 3 Dartford Warblers in an area where they've not been recorded previously. All in all it was a productive couple of hours and definitely worth another visit. The boulder field is extensive and I only managed to look at a small sample of it, plus there's Quentin's Hedwigia still to relocate.


  1. What an excellent result, Barry. I look forward to receiving the Porella NVCR voucher in due course. Tiny Fissidens with long perichaetial leaves sounds like potential limbatus (or whatever it's now called).

    I've done no mossing at all recently :-(

  2. Fantastic record Barry, it sounds like a great site.

  3. Charles, let me know if you & H intend going and I'll send you a map & grid refs. I'm sure you must have been there before, but with your bryo-eyes now opened wider, it really is a great site with plenty more potential. Fab views too.