Monday, 11 December 2017

Lower Clydach River above Pont Llechart

Another short visit into this cascade-free and almost cliff-free valley revealed no real surprises, with just a few tetrad additions. Species noted of general interest included Colura calyptrifolia (photo below), Fontinalis squamosa, Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum, Schistidium rivulare, Solenostoma paroicum, and Trichostomum tenuirostre (photo below).

This Ash supported Radula complanata at a level of abundance I've not seen before; all of the green growth visible being this species.

Non-bryological interest was provided by a little bit of Sticta fuliginosa agg./sylvatica growing on a willow, a genus in which all species appear to be very rare in Glamorgan.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A Porella in Pembs

During our annual Brown Hairstreak egg survey at West Williamston on Sunday I noticed a few stems of a Porella species growing over limestone rocks, just a few metres above the high water mark in a sheltered inlet (SN02630609). My immediate thought was Porella obtusata and, having left my camera at home, I asked Paul Gadsby to take a couple of field shots for me:

I took a small sample for microscope checking; a few underside shots are shown below. The lobules are quite variable in width - some quite narrow and some over half the width of the underleaves. I'm not sure if this is conclusive enough for obtusata, or if it might just be platyphylla - any thoughts welcome. (I did a little taste test - there was no bitterness so I think arboris-vitae is out of the equation).

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Lower Clydach River above Craig-cefn-parc

I never found anything remarkable during a two hour search along a 1km stretch of the river today, which lacked any cascades greater than what are visible in the above photo. There was a nice colony of Jungermannia pumila (above) on one of only a couple of small cliffs, but probably the most interesting species were Ephemerum minutissimum and Bryum sauteri in an area of disturbed M23a.

One curiosity was Phlebia radiata which was enveloping entire shoots of Hypnum cupressiforme creating an interesting form (note the sample on the right in the image below has been turned upside-down). 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Little apples

Back in about 2000 Sam and I carried out a vegetation and bryophyte survey at Craig y Fro by the A470 near Craig Cerrig-gleisiad NNR.   One of the bryos that sticks in my mind from the survey is  Plagiopus oederianus, which we found growing in some abundance behind a holly bush on the crags.  I stopped by briefly the other day to see how the Plagiopus is doing and was pleased to see it seems to be doing just fine.  It is quite a distinctive plant when fruiting, looking a bit like a large, loosely tufted, Amphidium mougeotii but with small Bartramia-like fruits growing out of it.  Actually, not many of the tufts had mature sporophytes, but on one patch they were abundant.  

I had a brief look around, paying my respects to the likes of Bartramia pomiformis, Amphidium and Aneoectangium aestivum and there were a few pinkish tufts of Orthothecium intricatum here and there. 

Wilson’s filmy-fern was looking good, with green spleenwort reasonably frequent and there were also a few patches of the very attractive lichen Solorina saccata.   

Some beds along this line of crags are very calcareous and back in 2000 we recorded Cololejeunea calcarea in one area.  

I noticed a patch of Brachydontium trichodes on top of a boulder – it is quite a while since I have seen this moss and I had forgotten how small it is.  A nearby flush had some nice patches of Blindia acuta and a very pink tuft of Philonotis calcarea. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Cwm Clydach (CCS)

It's been a while since I've indulged in any serious recreational bryology, so today it was good to get out and enjoy a 500m search of a tributary of the Lower Clydach River (centred at SN677066). Although this was an attractive little wooded valley, it was generally rather open and lacked any waterfalls or crags. Nevertheless a few noteworthy species were recorded including Odontoschisma denudatum (5 different logs scattered evenly along my walk - 4th vc tetrad), Barbilophozia attenuata (4th vcr), Dicranodontium denudatum (4th vcr), plus a potential candidate for Philonotis arnellii (below, top two images), though my sample although distinct, seemed bigger than I might have expected arnellii to be. An examination of the older leaves shows the cells in the outer 1/3 of the leaf has distal mammillae, but I need a more focused re-examination of my specimen to consider other perhaps more likely possibilities.

Below, Odontoschisma denudatum locations (also on log in top photo): 

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The SEWBReC challenge

I have just seen a post on Twitter, in which SEWBReC say there are 'only' 5-600 bryophyte taxa in south Wales and "the challenge is to find them all".  George amends the total to 737 taxa, which I assume comes from  Well, after 18 years of bryology in South Wales (taken to comprise VCC 35, 41, 42, 44 & 45) I believe I have seen all but 25 of the listed species in the region, and I have seen most of those 25 further north in Wales.  The species which have eluded me (so far) are:
Aloina rigida - historic record from VC35 but extant at only 2 sites in Wales and on S7 of Env(Wales) Act
Anthelia julacea - not really in 'south' Wales as the only records are from northernmost VC42
Antitrichia curtipendula - I haven't yet twitched the extant sites in the Black Mountains, as I'm hoping to find my own colony one day
Barbilophozia hatcheri - a great find by Graham on Craig Cerrig Gleisiad
Bazzania tricrenata - probably lost from the region, with the only recent record being from northern VC42
Bryum creberrimum - an elusive ephemeral species
Bryum tenuisetum - one which has eluded me full-stop, goodness knows why
Campylopstelium saxicola - there are a couple of VC42 records, but it's very rare in the region
Dicranum leioneuron - questionable ID in the region/GB
Entodon concinnus - a twitchable colony in the S Wales dunes would be nice
Eremonotus myriocarpos - another Craig Cerrig Gleisiad special that has eluded me
Gymnomitrion obtusum - not listed on the Blog county lists, but a recent Beacons addition by Graham
Harpanthus scutatus - goodness knows why this oceanic liverwort is so rare in south Wales!
Plagiothecium laetum - confused with P. curvifolium and perhaps never present in south Wales
Pterigynandrum filiforme - a single, causal record from the early 20th century
Rhynchostegiella curviseta - early 20th century record from Tintern Abbey, not refound
Ricciocarpos natans - recorded from Magor Marsh, but not for 30+ years
Schistidium papillosum - a Craig Cerrig Gleisiad record is almost certainly an error for S. strictum
Solenostoma confertissima - several searches on Mynydd Du have failed to reveal Jean Paton's sole Welsh population
Sphagnum warnstorfii - regular pore checks have not (yet) proved rewarding
Tortula canescens - long-gone from Pembrokeshire
Tortula cuneifolia - very long-gone from Pembrokeshire
Ulota drumondii - only recorded from northernmost VC42
Ulota hutchinsiae - only the early 20th century record from VC44 is believable

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Bryos for beginners

This morning I led a 'bryophytes for beginners' walk for SEWBReC, in the Wern Ddu woodland to the south-east of Caerphilly. Everything worked out well - the forecast rain didn't materialise, but it was damp enough that the patches of Thuidium tamariscinum, Plagiochila asplenioides and other large bryophytes were looking luxuriant. We focussed on the woodland floor species but had time for a few epiphytes as well, including a quick look at the Colura on willow which Barry found during the Red-flanked Bluetail twitch last winter.

Photo by SEWBReC
The 10 attendees seemed enthused and not too overwhelmed by lots of new species and new names - hopefully some of them will go on to submit bryophyte records in the future.


There's an imposing north-facing outcrop that hangs high above the A4107 just west of Cymmer and opposite the small village of Abercregan (SS852962). Surprisingly, we've never looked at these acidic, sandstone blocks before, but late yesterday afternoon in fading light we gave them a cursory inspection. In association with an abundance of fairly common liverworts such as Diplophyllum albicans, Gymnocolea inflata and Lophozia ventricosa we noted some nice patches of Ptilidium ciliare, which is not common in NPT.

Ptilidium ciliare, Cymmer

More pleasing was the local abundance of Barbilophozia floerkei and B. attenuata, both of which are fairly scarce in VC41.

Barbilophozia floerkei, Cymmer

Barbilophozia attenuata (and Oreoweisia bruntonii), Cymmer

Other notables were Oreoweisia bruntonii and some fabulous clumps of Scapania gracilis.

Oreoweisia bruntonii, Cymmer

Scapania gracilis, Cymmer

I think a systematic search in better light could be rewarding. Also worthy of note was the abundance of Dryopteris cambrensis in the vicinity, although this is a relatively common species in the uplands of NPT.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Philonotis query

A record of Dicranella rufescens I made from a streamside at Garth Hill back in August 2014 had been playing on my mind for a while - partly because I haven't recorded this species since that time, and also because I was a rank beginner back then and liable to make even more mistakes than I do nowadays!

I located the specimen in my collection and it became immediately obvious, on getting it under the scope, that it was nothing like Dicranella. In fact it is a very skinny Philonotis with shoots just a little over 1cm tall. I struggle to comprehend how I came to the conclusion that it was D. rufescens - I guess the red stem, small size and habitat were enough to convince me.

I'm not entirely sure which Philonotis it is. The shoots are somewhat falcate-secund which, coupled with their skinniness, suggests it could be P. caespitosa. I've checked the older leaves microscopically and none seem to be pleated, or with recurved margins, which fits with caespitosa rather than weedy fontana - but I'm not sure the cells are big enough. The photos below might help - if not I'd probably best pass the specimen on to Sam.