Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Bog Earwort in Glamorgan

Two days ago I recorded small quantities of the Nationally Scarce Scapania paludicola at the same site I first noted it at in 2014 (top photo, one of several monitoring plots on Tair Carreg Moor), the land sitting in the shadow of the huge overburden mound on Merthyr Common. The vegetation in the area where it occurs is a mosaic of rather ordinary M24a and M6d, perhaps suggesting the species could be more widespread in the county than records currently indicate. Photographic sequences of the monitoring plot show the vegetation has become more rank in recent years due to reduced grazing, but despite this, low density bryos can still be found by carefully searching in the gaps between the tussocks of Molinia. Direct associates in this niche were all at very low abundance and included Calypogeia fissa, Hypnum jutlandicum, Scapania irrigua and Sphagnum denticulatum. The above photo shows the specimen collected in 2014, those below being from 2017, these perhaps better illustrating the strongly arched keel which gives the species its characteristic appearance.

Clare Mockridge has provided the bulk of Glamorgan records, with six entries from 1994 to 1998, a period of extensive Phase II NVC work in the county; though most records are from Llantrisant Common. The only other county record was provided by Peter (Sturgess) & Roy (Perry) at the Fochriw Reclamation Scheme Site in 2010. Wider searches will hopefully reveal more about this seemingly localised species.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Pohlia lutescens

We found some patches of Pohlia lutescens on peaty soil in a ditch in marshy grassland in the Upper Dulais Valley, near Seven Sisters yesterday (SN80D). There are few records of it in VC41, but it may be overlooked. The photo below shows it growing with Pseudephemerum nitidum (moss with capsules in the bottom right corner), which gives a good indication of how small it is. It has very distinctive, knobbly, rhizoidal gemmae (bottom photo).

Pohlia lutescens and Pseudephemerum nitidum, Seven Sisters

Pohlia lutescens

Rhizoidal gemmae of Pohlia lutescens

Other things of interest in the vicinty included Scorpidium cossinii and Plagiomnium elatum in a very nice base-flushed meadow near Seven Sisters Rugby Club. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Swamp Feather-moss near Merthyr

At 340m asl, a population of Amblystegium radicale to the north-west of Merthyr was found to be well established at more than twice the maximum elevation given in the new bryophyte atlas. Whether or not the species is extending it's range eastwards, upwards, or just that it is now better understood is debatable. Direct associates around the margins of this very small reservoir included Drepanocladus aduncus and Marchantia polymorpha subsp. polymorpha. 

104 taxa were recorded at this rural industrial site with a good mix of calcicoles and calcifuges represented taking the totals for SN90Y and SO00D onto 156 and 65 respectively. Other species of interest noted, which give a flavour of the site, included Aneura pinguis, Aulacomnium palustre, Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, Campylium protensum, Carex arenaria, C. divulsa d., C. hostiana, C. pilulifera, C. pulicaris, Climacium dendroides, Didymodon ferrugineus, Ditrichum gracile, Homalothecium lutescens, Loeskeobryum brevirostre (photos 1 & 2 below), Pyrola rotundifolia (photo below), Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Sanionia uncinata, Scapania irrigua, Syntrichia ruralis var. ruraliformis, Tortella tortuosa & Weissia controversa var. densifolia.