Sunday, 1 November 2015

Scratching around in ST27

While the rest of you have been recording exciting bryophytes out in the west, spare a thought for your poor comrade in the east. I've not had a great deal of time for square bashing in recent weeks but have made a few short visits to the Glamorgan part of ST27, and it has been hard work.

ST27D, locate to the north of Cardiff docks, has been particularly tough. There is lots of wasteground vegetation in this tetrad and it has proved interesting for dockland aliens (including Senecio inaequidens and Lepidium graminifolium) and micro-moths, but not so for bryophytes. It is a dry area and almost lacking in woodland, so many common species are missing (or just missed by me). I've only recorded 35 taxa here...I'm sure there will be others, but it is probably not the best use of my time scratching around trying to find them. The only records just about worth mentioning are Brachythecium mildeanum and Dicranella schreberiana.

ST27E was better largely thanks to the Howardian Local Nature Reserve, which has some wetland areas as well as pockets of boradleaved woodland. Around 55 taxa were recorded last Sunday morning, the highlights being Marchantia polymorpha ssp. polymorpha and Oxyrrhynchium speciosum growing together beneath Phragmites.
Marchantia polymorpha ssp. polymorpha

Elsewhere on the site was this patch of Leskea polycarpa on an ash bough away from water, though the surrounding tall herb vegetation might hold standing water in the winter.
Leskea polycarpa


  1. I applaud your efforts George, just keep reminding yourself that every common species in a square scores just the same as a rare one when looking at a species total. I really enjoy brownfield botanising as you never know what you're going to find. I've not seen Senecio inaequidens or Lepidium graminifolium (although I note Paul Green has recorded both in the Cardiff area in the last year or two).

  2. The other thing to remember is that those squares are genuinely bryophyte-poor, so your tally of 35 is a true reflection of what is there. The problem squares are ones where access is so limited that one can only scrape together 35, but where private land is likely to hold 100s more.

  3. It's always nice to find Leskea George. It seems to be uncommon in West Glamorgan. Also, a couple of really nice neophytes.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I guess the main point is not to spend too long on any one tetrad trying to eek out a few more species, when the time would be better spent elsewhere. There are a few more dull tetrads in prospect around Cardiff Bay, but as discussed these may well be enlivened by unusual neophytes (so probably best done next spring or autumn rather than in the depths of winter!).