Thursday, 27 April 2017

Habrodon at Merthyr Mawr

I was at Merthyr Mawr today for a site meeting with Duncan Ludlow, and having mentioned Habrodon perpusillus while we were chatting in the car park Duncan offered to show me the sycamore which hosts this rare moss. Despite Duncan leading me to the exact multi-trunked tree I couldn't spot it, but I nipped back afterwards for another look and found numerous small patches on one of the trunks (circled yellow in photo below).

I was struck by the superficial similarity to young Cryphaea, as Sam and Barry have commented previously.


The good news is that Duncan has removed the Holm Oak that was shading the host tree, and plans to fell further Holm Oaks slightly further away. Hopefully this will allow enough light onto the sycamore trunk for the Habrodon to persist.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Mossy Moneymakers

It's the first time I've seen this van in the area. I'm not sure if this is big business or a good bit of local entrepreneurship?

Also noticed this product in Wyevale today, I only hope the marketing on the back of the bag is true?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Moss puzzle

I did some work in Swansea Docks yesterday and finally managed to add 22 species to the previously unrecorded SS69Q. There was nothing of special note, though a single capsule of what superficially looked like Microbryum rectum seemed a little odd. The habitat comprised a mossy turf growing on a marine silt/grit crust over concrete, regularly inundated by wave spray during storms. The most prominent species were Limonium binervosum agg., Hennediella heimii, Didymodon tophaceus and Tortella flavovirens. Under the microscope the seta seemed thick and too long for M. rectum, plus the leaves looked more like those of H. heimii, with smooth cells, costa ending below the leaf tip and with a few marginal teeth near below the tip. I gently squashed the capsule under the slide cover to reveal some unripe spores. Given the habitat and the leaf characters I'm suspecting this is just a deformed capsule of H. heimii, but thought I'd post it, just in case someone else knows better.

Also of interest, the crusts of D. tophaceus were punctuated by frequent fruiting bodies of one of the bryoparasitic Pezizales, probably a Lamprospora species, though the Octospora website does not list D. tophaceus as a known host.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A walk in the woods

I was off work last Thursday - and where better to spend a warm early spring day than in limestone woodland. I spent half of the day walking the woods around Dinas Powys, with one of the aims being to improve on the miserly total of 31 bryo taxa recorded in ST17L. Around 60 taxa were recorded on the walk, with the solid if unspectacular cast including Riccardia chamaedrys, Orthodontium lineare, Dialytricha mucronata (on concrete by the Cadoxton River), Cirriphyllum crassinervium and Lejeunea lamacerina.  The highlight was an unexpected limestone crag at ST147723, which added Mnium stellare, Porella platyphylla, Eucladium verticillatum and Tortella tortuosa, among others.
Mnium stellare
In places it was hard to avoid treading on Herb Paris
Earlier in the day I called at the Cardiff Bay Wetland Reserve to try and add a few species for ST17X (which had a reasonable list of grots but hardly anything else). Around 10 taxa were added, taking the total for this tetrad into the 40s, including Fissidens incurvus, Orthotrichum lyellii and a nice fruiting patch of Bryum radiculosum on a wall.

Pal y Cwrt pit stop

Last Saturday we went for a drive over Mynydd Du and during a pit stop at Pal y Cwrt in the hope of a migrant Ring Ouzel (none, but lots of Wheatears in song) I noticed a lovely patch of Antennaria dioica, which was lf in a 6m x 4m area at SN67681813. I made a very quick list of associates and grabbed a small sample with a mix of liverworts and some fruiting Weissia for checking, from the location arrowed above, these being: Ctenidium molluscum, Ditrichum gracile, Encalypta streptocarpa, Hypnum cupressiforme var. lacunosum, Lophozia excisa, Plagiochila porelloides, Thymus polytrichus, Tortella tortuosa and Weissia brachycarpa var. obliqua. My sample also contained shoots that look very much like Bryum kunzei, which is not known from Carmarthensire, so I'll send the sample to Tom, unless Sam would like to take a look first.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Brecon Beacons Pit Stop

 We stopped briefly in a lay-by below Storey Arms - actually an old quarry (SS971208) -  during a journey across the Brecon Beacons on Sunday afternoon. The occurrence of small patches of Philonotis calcarea and a Scorpidium, which at the time I assumed was S. revolvens, indicated a significant amount of base-flushing. Also in the vicinity were Preissia quadrataCtenidium molluscum, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Tortella bambergeri and some impressive Asplenium viride, all indicating a calcium influence.

Scorpidium in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Asplenium viride in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

It was fortunate that I took a small sample of the Scorpidium because after checking leaf cell structure under the microscope it appears to be S. cossonii. Once upon a time they were both Drepanocladus revolvens!


Porose, mid-leaf cells of Scorpidium with blunt (transverse) ends

The wet rocks also had small amounts of Blindia acuta and Empetrum nigrum was scattered in heathy areas above the quarry. Fascinating to think that this collection of Boreo-arctic montane species is only few miles away from an exemplary collection of hyper-oceanic species in the Upper Nedd and Mellte headstreams.

Blindia acuta in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Blindia acuta leaf showing characteristic alar cells

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Anthoceros punctatus revisited


At last, abundant sporophytes on the Afan Forest Park population.

Anthoceros habitat, Afan Forest Park

Abundant sporophytes on Anthoceros punctatus, Afan Forest Park


Anthoceros punctatus, Afan Forest Park