Friday, 18 December 2015

Bracthythecium albicans, fruting

Last week I collected a few samples from the gravelly pathside on the approach to the barrage in Cardiff Bay. It was raining so I just stuffed a few samples in bags at intervals along the path (an approach I often use in urban areas where there are too many people around to loiter on hands and kness with a hand lens).

Checking them under the microscope later, as well as an abundance of Bryum ruderale were two samples of what I think is Brachythecium albians - they have the classic upright stringy shoots of that species and look spot on microscopically. The odd thing is that both samples has sporophytes - note very immature sporophyte in centre of top photo, as well as the old sporophyte on the left in the lower photo.

The Carms and Pembs floras mention that fruiting plants of this species have not been found in those counties, and I can't see any fruiting examples mentioned on the Glamorgan MapMate database. The books describe fruiting as rare in this species.

So, this would appear to be quite an unusual observation...unless I've made a howler with the ID! The seta is smooth which would rule out most other Brachythecium.


  1. I've never seen capsules on this species, but the lower photos looks suspiciously Bryum-like to me. If it was attached to a stringy shoot then I'll be happy to be corrected

  2. You had me going for a bit there Barry - I thought I'd made the biggest howler of all time - but it is a pleurocarp. Sorry the photos aren't great - I'll try and get some better ones later.

  3. Sorry to panic you there George. To ensure we're not talking at crossed purposes, I was wondering if the capsule was originating from a different plant growing among the Brachythecium shoots, but it sounds like you have it sorted though.

  4. I haven't had time to post photos to try and resolve this - will take it up again when I'm back in the new year.