Sunday, 26 February 2017

An odd place for a Racomitrium

On a previous visit to my parents' house in Kendal (VC69) I took a sample of an odd-looking moss from a wooden fence which borders a park opposite their garden (50m asl). Some time later I checked it microscopically and was surprised to find it was a Racomitrium, but was unable to confirm which species and hadn't taken a photo of it in situ.

Last week I was back in Kendal and had another look - the moss was still there; in fact there were two patches growing a few metres apart. Judging by the sprawling growth I think it must be R. fasciculare. I can't find any references to this species growing on wood. Has anyone else seen it in similar situations?


  1. Never seen fasiculare on anything other than rock, but I have recorded some healthy-looking R. ericoides growing as an epiphyte on Larch

  2. I saw Racomitrium fasciculare on Poplars in two places near the Ebbw Vale Steelworks in 2002 & 2003, along with R aciculare and lots of Ptychomitrium. I wonder whether that fence receives a dose of heavy metal from something (car exhaust perhaps).

  3. Thanks both - interesting observations.

    The lane by the fence is very quiet, and there are no busy roads nearby, so exhaust emissions might not be the culprit. Perhaps the wood itself was treated with a compound containing heavy metals?

  4. I suspect Racomitrium prefers pure rock rather that heavy metal!