Friday, 19 February 2016

Kilvey revisited

A 30 minute search on a barren-looking patch in the north-west corner of the hill SS66609490
produced my first record of Lophozia bicrenata (two lower images). After keying it out I gave it the sniff test and was amazed, despite the diminutive size of my sample, how strong the distinctive leathery smell was. Associates were Gymnocolea inflata (abundant, below: top pic), with occasional Pohlia annotina, Pogonatum aloides, Pohlia nutans, Cephaloziella hampeana, Calluna vulgaris, Festuca ovina and Diplophyllum albicans.

I've no idea what contaminant is inhibiting the growth of vascular plants in this area, but the bryophyte assemblage is very different from the metallophyte community at Pluck Lake, where Weissia controversa var. densifolia and Bryum pallescens grow in abundance.


  1. Nice, not one I've (knowingly) seen.

    Looks an interesting little patch.

  2. Lophozia bicrenata is a peculiarly scattered species throughout south Wales. It may be an axiophyte (sensu BSBI) as it tend to grow in relatively interesting places, though it is very unpredictable. Well spotted!

  3. I think one of the main contaminants there is zinc.

  4. Thanks Charles, I'm guessing there must have been research done on this, which would be interesting to track down.

  5. There is a large body of information tucked away in PhD theses, mostly people who worked with Gordon Goodman in Swansea University in the 1970s. Steve Wainwright and Mike Bridges also did some research in the area. Your comment regarding Bryum pallescens is interesting. Given the association of B. pallescens with galvanised barriers , one might expect to see it in the Kilvay Hill/White Rock area where the zinc waste was dumped during the clean-up (galvanisation involves coating metals like steel with zinc). Much of the metal waste that existed in the Lower Swansea Valley in the 1960s and 1970s was hauled away and used in the building of the M4 between Swansea and Llanelli i.e. It is under the road. Some zinc waste was dumped in the Kilvay Hill / White Rock area and small pockets of other stuff remain near Atlantic Close. Detailed information on the whereabouts of existing waste in the LSV is probably kept by the Local Authority.