Monday, 23 May 2016

Mining for moss

Visits to three Ceredigion lead mines last Friday produced several nice things.  I'll start with 3 showy species: Racomitrium elongatum, Tetraplodon mnioides and Hedwigia stellata.  The Racomitrium is pretty frequent in the Cambrian Mountains and its long reflexed hairpoints are a good pointer (before microscope checking).  Tetraplodon is present on most Mid Wales mines, where it grows on scats and bones.  Hedwigia stellata is surprisingly sparsely distributed in Ceredigion, and the two tufts I saw were on tarmac - the first time I've seen it on this substrate.

Prize for smallest and grottiest goes to Ditrichum plumbicola and D. lineare.  The two colonies of D. plumbicola were both "new" - the 15th & 16th sites for this species in Mid Wales - in part because nobody had specifically looked for it on those sites.  The D. lineare was also "new", and was unusual because it's generally found on natural sites in Wales rather than on mines.  Ditrichum plumbicola has blunt-tipped leaves and plane margins, whereas the D. lineare has acute tips and slightly recurved margins.

Prize for rarest may go to D. plumbicola, but with a bit of luck I'll be able to confirm that a colony of very toothy Cephaloziella is C. nicholsonii.  This would be only the 5th Welsh locality for this British endemic.  It was growing at the foot of an old wheel pit wall, and it's interesting to note that the first Ceredigion colony was on a wall on Cwmystwyth mine (found by David Holyoak).

I'll add some microscope photos of the Cephaloziella soon. 


  1. Hedwigia on tarmac, whatever next. Those Ditrichum do look extremely grotty...not exactly top of my 'most wanted' list!

  2. Yes, quite a contrast to your Anania on the Carms moth blog, which is very high on my most wanted!