Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Hercynian Haircap

Oligotrichum hercynicum (Hercynian Haircap) with Pogonatum aloides, Blaengwynfi

This is a relatively common species in quarries and along forestry roads in the uplands of NPT, where it often grows with other pioneers species such as Ditrichum heteromallum, Pogonatum aloides, Pogonatum urnigerum, Diplophyllum albicansNardia scalaris and Solenostoma gracillimum.  Most colonies are barren, but very occasionally we see it in fruit. 

Oligotrichum hercynicum in fruit, Bwlch Forest

It is a conspicuous, vivid green moss, difficult to miss and the rather local distribution pattern indicated by current records in the database may be misleading. My guess is that it is scattered throughout the coniferised uplands of VC41, so it's worth targeting in the coming season. Perhaps its apparent absence from Gower is real, or a challenge for Barry!

Distribution of Oligotrichum hercynicum in Glamorgan (Map Mate records, 1km squares)

And while we're on the subject, Ditrichum heteromallum also appears to be rather local or perhaps under recorded in VC41 and apparently absent from Gower. Now is a good time to see it in fruit, which makes its identification a bit easier (at least for me).

Ditrichum heteromallum, Crynant Forest track (29/8/16)

Distribution of Ditrichum heteromallum in Glamorgan (Map Mate records, 1km squares)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Flat Holm scoping mission !

After a full four days of sunshine, and not getting a single gull dropping on me I have returned from Flat Holm. I was quite busy with the main aim of the trip to look at water chemistry and geology. However I did lay the ground for you, if you wish to visit. The head warden, Mariane is very open to a bryophyte survey and I sung your praises.  To get to the island you need to speak to Cardiff Council by phone on this number 02920877912 or via this email:, there is plenty of accommodation and a PUB! There may be a small cost involved or maybe not, see what you can negotiate. Things were quite dry and most bryos were shrivelled up, I didn't collect anything, and I only looked at the cliff areas. After scoping out the entire cliff line, I only found one wet area, in the aptly named 'Dripping Cove' (ST 22317 64756) and after a bit of a scrabble I found the drip...and I mean the drip (See picture). Think it was Eucladium  or similar growing on the drip, and only covering an area of about 20cm2. There were also some liverworts living in the almost pitch dark in a small adit in the cliff face.  Im sure it will get more exciting in the winter. As usual apologies for poor photos, I must get a new camera. I hope this info helps you sort a trip out to the island in the future, its a great place to visit and the staff and volunteers are excellent. 

a gaggle of liverworts living in almost pitch black about 3m inside an old mine adit 
some very dry bryos on cliff edge on the western part of the island nr Bottles Well
The single drip of water in the 'Dripping Cove'