Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bits and pieces

On Friday I spent a couple of hours tying up some loose ends. First port of call was the Ty-du arable field (ST103800), where Sam and Julian found immature Phaeoceros thalli in late September. These had matured in the intervening weeks; strangely, all those I found (and there were lots of them) were male, indicating they were the dioecious species P. laevis (photo below left). As in September, Anthoceros thalli were also in evidence (photo below right) and I managed to find some male organs to confirm them as A. agrestis (though I think Sam had already done this).

I was surprised by the abundance of Fossombronia, a genus I've not seen in other arable fields locally.  The sporophytes were immature but after a few days ripening at home I was able to extract spores enabling identification as F. pusilla.

Next stop was the roadside limestone outcrops in Pentyrch, with my hopes high after Barry's recent find of Weissia sterilis in Julian's nearby garden. Although 16 calcicoles were recorded there was no Weissia among them. The best record was probably Brachythecium glareosum.

Finally, 45 minutes were spent in Efail Isaf making a start on ST08X. Among the 36 species recorded were Pleuridium subulatum and Fossombronia pusilla on soil in the village allotments.

An enjoyable two hours despite the hail showers!


  1. Well done George, even if the Weissia didn't turn up. Your Phaeoceros do not have the densely male appearance typical of P laevis - their scattered male bits is more like P carolinianus before the female bits become visible/prominent. I fear that one more visit in January might be worthwhile.

  2. Some very useful records there George, let's hope the Phaeoceros turns out as Sam suspects.
    FYI the putative W. sterilis is now with Des Callaghan, who has been doing some sequencing work on cleistocarpous Weissia species - from what's been discovered so far, it appears the key for this section may need revising, so Julian's garden specimen may take a little while to be definitively named.
    Re Foss. pusilla I also found it in great abundance a couple weeks back, but in damp, horse-grazed pasture on the outskirts of Swansea. Looking at the Carms & Pembs floras, I suspect this will eventually turn out to be be our most widespread Foss.

  3. Thanks for the comments both. Interesting about the Phaeoceros Sam - that thought did cross my mind but I foolishly dismissed it. Anyway, the site is a very short drive from home so I'm more than happy to go back in the new year.

    Barry - I look forward to an update on the Weissia in due course.