Monday, 25 January 2016

Elegant Grimmia

the top of the closest rock has lots of S. elegantulum
A brief revisit to the Penrice Estate today resulted in the discovery of several additional rocks supporting Schistidium elegantulum around the 'Kitchen Garden' [a natural rocky alcove rather than a garden]. I always suspected there would be more than the small colony I initially saw there in 2013 and these 'new' rocks largely supported robust & healthy patches (photo below left), whereas the small colony on the original rocks appeared to in extremely poor health (photo below right).
I brought a small tuft home to re-familiarise myself with the id features and was surprised to find the mid-leaf cell size was smaller than that cited by Smith. This caused some confusion and following the key to the letter my specimen keyed out as confertum, which was clearly wrong. I've kept the voucher, which in every other respect fits elegantulum perfectly. Sam, should you feel the need to check this voucher (bearing in mind you've already confirmed a spec from the original location) I can include it with the batch I keep promising to send you? For ref I also collected some apocarpon-type material, which looked interesting, growing on adjacent rocks which I've still to look at critically. Lichens are something I know little about but Dermatocarpon miniatum var. complicatum, noted growing on the same rocks, looks uniquely distinctive for a safe call.


  1. Smith's Schistidium key is, unfortunately, useless. The use of lamina cell measurements led to a lot of misidentifications as S confertum. Nordic keys are the only solution to this genus, but the Fieldguide gives good pointers.

  2. Thanks Sam - do you know if there is an online version of the Nordic key?

  3. I don't think there are any on-line versions of Blom's keys. They really need to have the illustrations alongside anyway. I'd suggest that Nyholm's Illustrated Flora of Nordic Mosses is a must-have for British bryologists, with Vol 4 covering Schistidium, Grimmia and Orthotrichum (though there are better treatments of Grimmia and Orthotrichum elsewhere).