Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Slade cliff seawatch

I treated myself to a seawatch at Port Eynon at first light on Sunday morning, but it was so drizzly when I arrived, that visibility did not extend beyond the surf. So a backup plan to add a few more records to SS48X was put in place and in the relative shelter of Slade Valley I managed to add a few species of interest; these included a mound of Weissia controversa var. densifolia growing under the hinge of a galvanized gate and some good patches of Plasteurhynchium striatulum growing on an outcrop under the coastal scrub. After 30 minutes the rain started to ease so I took my scope onto the cliff, but with little passing I soon became distracted by the bryophytes growing around me. I spent 30 blustery minutes with a hand lens adding some good species to the square, the best of which were Fossombronia caespitiformis (=husnotii) [photos above] which was frequent but scattered over many square metres, a little Bryum kunzei (=funkii), occasional Microbryum starckeanum and even smaller, what I'm pretty sure what is a new species for me, Cephaloziella calyculata [photos below]. There is a however, however, as the material was non-fruiting. The key in Paton took me quickly to calyculata/integerrima but the angular pale green gemmae and habitat seem to be the only distinctions between the two when non-fertile; integerrima usually displays red pigments and is not typically associated with Limestone. Perhaps Sam can let me know if this is a safe id? Like the Fossombronia, plants were scattered across a good area, so potentially quite a significant population if confirmed. I'm not sure what species the Cephaloziella is in the photos above (rather sparse oval gemmae present on a few shoots and underleaves frequent so possibly divaricata), but I initially thought the plants below might have been Lophozia excisa until closer inspection revealed pale green gemmae.


  1. What a fabulous collection of species. It will be interesting to see whether the limestone cliffs of the Vale reveal similar delights when they finally get some proper survey effort.

  2. Richard Lansdown found Cephaloziella calyculata on Vale (if I remember correctly) but several other Gower limestone species remain to be found/absent. I have looked at the western end, near Ogmore, but the younger limestones remain poorly worked.