Saturday, 3 February 2018

Didymodon cf. australasiae update

Didymodon cf. australasiae 'dirt zone' habitat
I've been back to Dafen and noted the putative Didymodon australasiae was locally frequent in the 'dirt zone' of the road verge, the population appearing in patches (some very extensive) for over 1 km of the A4138. Yesterday I pulled into the lay-by of the Loughor bypass section of the A484 (Glamorgan) and walked back to a suitable looking dirty verge at SS56359793. Sure enough there was a good scattering of the same taxon. To assist potential searches the following pointers and photos should help build a search image:
  • Forms mid-dark green patches, darker than frequently associated Barbula spp. and lacks brownish tones of D. tophaceus and orange tones of D. fallax.
  • Grows both as mono-specific turf and as occasional shoots mixed with other spp.
  • Leaves spreading-patent, tapering, the tip sometimes appearing pinched towards to a moderately cuculate tip.
  • Some plants have broader leaves and the pinched leaf tip is more evident, these may be younger plants?
  • The strong nerve is very evident on the upper surface of the leaf in certain light.
  • Contrary to my earlier comments the species does crisp up a bit when dry as shown below.
It seems reasonable to suspect this species might be frequent in and around the Swansea-Llanelli area and possibly further afield, so if folks can take the opportunity to check the dirt zone of our major roads it will be interesting to find out how widespread the taxon really is - hopefully further clarification of its identification will come in good time.
Image above showing a couple of shoots mixed in with D. tophaeceus, B. convoluta and P. hornschuchianum.


  1. That's really helpful - thanks Barry. I'll look further east when I'm next out mossing.

  2. Great stuff Barry, we'll keep a look out for it.

  3. Tom Blockeel has now examined my vouchers and seems equally perplexed. He is hopefully going to persuade Jan Kucera to take a look and possibly sequence it, so for now the puzzle remains unsolved...