Thursday, 5 January 2017

Leucodon - hanging on

This lunchtime I paid my annual winter visit to the Leucodon colony on Sycamore in Bute Park. I was half expecting to be penning an orbituary after the decline observed last year, which was at least partly caused by physical damage due to tree climbers. But the Leucodon is hanging on, just. It has declined even further since last year, with just a few wispy shoots present around the edge of this formerly fairly dense patch. The photos below are sequential from 2014 to 2017.


Will it still be there next year I wonder.

On the cycle home, some grab samples from tarmac added a couple of species for ST17U: Didymodon insulanus and Brachythecium mildeanum. There was a lot of Dialytrichia mucronata and a bit of Syntrichia latifolia present too. I still can't find any Ceratodon in this tetrad!


  1. Very nice sequence George, though it's not looking good for this particular colony. I have always subconsciously perceived epihytes as long-lived, forming relatively stable communities, but your mini-monitoring project is making me rethink. Good luck with the Ceratodon - a graveyard or roof may be the way to end your quest?

  2. Thanks Barry. The (probably) short-lived nature of this colony may be somewhat artificial though, as much of the patch was rubbed off, along with other bryos on the same branch, by tree climbers' feet.

    Yes, I should check out the western part of Cathays Cemetery to try and add Ceratodon. It's still missing from more of the Cardiff tetrads than I'm comfortable with!

  3. Are the relevant local authority ecologists aware of this George? This could be viewed as a significant local biodiversity issue, the Parks people could be made aware and perhaps some protection can be put in place.

  4. That’s a good point Charles. There are other examples of County Rare/Scarce species that could benefit from raising awareness and/or affording some form of protection. It’s a bit premature given the status of the Glamorgan data set I know, but I have started a provisional list of National and County rarities with the intention of starting the production of a map of important sites and the species they support. Hopefully this will be of use for local authorities and other bodies interested or responsible for helping look after our less common bryophytes.

  5. That sounds a great idea Barry.

    Charles - with regards the Leucodon, I've let the park authorities know about the colony in the past, and they've marked it on their plans to make sure the tree isn't cut down or tidied up, but I'm not sure what they can do to stop people climbing on it. I doubt a sign would work. But you're right, I should let them know about the damage anyway.