Monday, 4 July 2016

Tremadog rocks

An evening walk after bog surveying near Porthmadog finally gave me the chance to explore the amazing cliffs and hanging woodlands above Tremadog.  I only scratched the surface of this extensive area, and I'm sure there's plenty more to be found.  Most of the time I was up on the open, sunny clifftop rocks, where Campylopus pilifer and Hedwigia integrifolia were surprisingly common.  The former grows in dense cushions in rock crevices and its thick shoots are reassuringly different to the common C. introflexus, whilst the latter sprawls on sunny rocks and its lack of hairpoints is immediately different to H. stellata.

One area held extensive patches of a sprawling Racomitrium with very short hairpoints.  This was growing close to typical, hoary R. heterostichum and looked incredibly different, yet they are treated as a single species in the Census Catalogue!  Also nearby was muticous (pointless) R. obtusum, which is again treated as part of R. heterostichum in Britain.  The short-pointed, narrow-leaved plant is Racomitrium obtusifolium f. trichophorum, which I discussed in The Mosses and Liverworts of Pembrokeshire.  I have now found it in several places on coastal tors in Wales, from Pembrokeshire to Harlech and Tremadog, but never inland.  There seems to be a pattern developing in records of this distinctive-looking moss...

A scramble down into the upper part of the woodland above the Hospital revealed abundant Frullania fragilifolia and Plagiochila bifaria as well as some Marchesinia mackaii.  A large lichen on a boulder may well be the uncommon Cetrelia olivetorum, which may well be new for the site (already known to hold a good example of The Lobarion).  There are still vast explored and potentially bryophyte-rich habitat in the Tremadog area, as well as past generations' rarities to be rediscovered (some localities were kept secret and subsequently slipped out of bryologists' knowledge).  Oh to return!

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