Thursday, 29 March 2018

Chasing ghosts

I headed to Hensol Forest yesterday afternoon with thoughts of Ghostwort in my mind. There is a lot of Sphagnum in the wet woodland just to the north of Pysgodlyn Mawr, which seemed a good place to search for it. As it turned out, however, there wasn't a lot of birch in the woodland and it didn't take me long to roll back (and replace) the carpets of Sphagnum from around the base of the few birch trees - unsurprisingly, no Cryptothallus was forthcoming (all I found was a small toad).

This left some time for general recording so I had a poke around the rotten logs nearby, with one particularly splendid example being almost covered in Riccardia palmata and a few smaller patches of Nowellia curvifolia.
On the other side of the lake, a large willow had a tuft of Ulota which looked promising for calvescens - and so it proved when checked under the microscope (the rows of elongated cells inside the leaf margins were very clear).
These and a few other additions took the total for tetrad ST07N from 75 to 85 (the majority of the previous records coming from a visit Sam made to Pysgodlyn Mawr exactly five years earlier).

I headed a bit further south into ST07M, which had a list of only 6 bryophyte species. Following a small stream through the mixed woodland bumped this total up to 52, including Orthodontium lineare, a bit more Nowellia and, more excitingly, two patches of Loeskeobryum brevirostre.

Among these records L. brevirostre, U. calvescens and R. palmata are all new for the Vale - which highlights just how under-recorded this part of the county is.


  1. Cryptothallus (one of the holy grails) would have been nice, but a profitable day nevertheless George. Nice to see the Loeskeobryum map filling out.

  2. Always worth setting yourself a target species, even if it's just to get some motivation. Some good results there George and I'm in no doubt the Vale will still have plenty more to offer.