Leucobryum juniperoideum under Sitka Spruce, Garnwen, Afan Forest Park
Mature Sitka forests in the South Wales uplands have something of the look and feel of the coniferous, temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Unlike the younger, rather barren Sitka thickets, the older forests let in significant amounts of light, which together with their cool, humid atmosphere, provides ideal conditions for bryophytes and ferns. Common associates are Rhytidiadelphus loreus, Plagiothecium undulatum, Pseudotaxyphyllus elegans, Hypnum jutlandicum, Hylocomium splendens, Thuidium tamariscinum, Campylopus flexuosus, Dicranella heteromalla, Sphagnum fimbriatum and Diplophyllum albicans. Others like Hookeria lucens and Dicranum majus are more occasional. The Atlas tells us that Leucobryum juniperoideum can also be expected in conifer forests. Decades ago I saw it in the Lodgepole Pine forest near Pluck Lake (Lower Swansea Valley). Recently we revisited the site but couldn't find it again. But this afternoon, sheltering from the monsoonal rain, we just happened to come across a small population (SS83519223) in a mature Sitka coupe between Drysiog and Garnwen (opposite Maesteg Golf Course). Standing trees at the edge of the forest have ubiquitous Colura while self thinning has resulted in the accumulation of deadfall in all stages of decay, some logs with lots of Nowellia curvifolia.