Thursday, 20 July 2017

Please look for Ulota


After several hints that Ulota taxonomy was about to change (is the information that Ulota crispa comprises three species a 'spoiler' or a cause for concern?!), British bryologists now have no excuse to bury their heads in the sand.  Tom Blockeel has published an excellent overview of Ulota in the last Field Bryology, complete with a key and photos of endostome and exostome teeth.  There are only a few Welsh Vice-counties listed for each segregate species, with Ulota intermedia in VC41 a bit of a surprise, so there's a lot to be found.  With this in mind I have collected a few Ulota this summer, including U. crispa and U. crispula on willows at 300m altitude near Llyn Ogwen in Snowdonia (U. crispa photo above; I photographed the dull species); U. crispa on willows near Capel Curig; U. crispa on a lowland Hawthorn at Llangua in Monmouthshire; U. crispula on Hazel at 150m altitude at Gwernogle in Carmarthenshire; and U. intermedia on Lundy. 

Now is the perfect time to look for U. crispula and U. intermedia, because both seem to have old/post-ripe capsules, whereas U. crispa is still unripe/ripe with calyptrae.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Industrial interest

I've not seen Tortella bambergeri before, however a specimen I collected from a bank of limestone chippings (location shown above - site n.w. of Merthyr) seems to fit the bill nicely and if confirmed will be an addition to the county list. I've still yet to check it out under the microscope, but it matches photos in the field guide and a few I've found on line, with narrow, broken-tipped leaves with nerves that are matt below (though there is a little bit of shine in some angles, so any opinions welcome).

The habitat is a bit different to the species' described haunts, as was the community it was found in - although Herb-Robert can be seen to be abundant on the bank, the only verge constants were Small Toadflax, Field Forget-me-not and Schistidium crassipilum. Associates included Heath Groundsel and Wall Lettuce, the latter locally abundant in places across the site.

As I wasn't quite sure what the putative Tortella was when I found it (in fact I suspected it was odd-looking Didymodon sinuosus) I didn't take any reference shots, nor recorded how much there was. However, I do recall there being several scattered patches at the location shown, plus I'm pretty sure I saw it again at a different part of the site. In any case I'll be back, so will see what I can find...

Some images of my voucher, in drying and wetted states: