Monday, 28 May 2018

Miscellaneous bryophyte news

Although the last month has been a quiet period of recording for us, we managed to get into SN99N at last. We tried to get in there a few weeks ago but the Bwlch road from Abergwynfi to Treorchy was closed. This time, the road was open but the forest track above Cwm Parc was closed, which was where were intending to go. We were beginning to understand why this tetrad had no records in it. So we headed up to Treorchy Cemetry and gave the environs there a bashing, bringing the total for the tetrad to a very modest 45. I hesitate to use the word highlights but patches of Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus in the cemetry and Homalia trichomanoides in a nearby wood were probably the best of the day. When we eventually get up the forest road, I'm sure we'll get the total up to a more respectable number.

Neath Grazing Marsh

The river Neath is tidal as far up the valley as the Tonna weir and just south of that, between the A465 and the river, there is a large area of cattle-grazed marshy grassland which is washed by the highest tides. Much of it is dominated by Juncus effusus, with large areas of Phragmites australis, Glyceria maxima and Carex riparia and lots of Myosotis laxa, Senecio aquaticus and others.  We've not given the bryophytes there much attention but on Saturday some frequent patches of a Hygroamblystegium (Amblystegium) were noted. I thought it was H. varium when I first saw it but the leaves, which are quite widely spaced, have a narrow insertion and the nerve doesn't look long enough. It looks more like the H. humile that Barry found at Llanrhidian last year, but is not as robust nor abundant. Comments welcome.

Hygroamblystegium on Neath Grazing Marsh

While making a species list for one of Glyncorrwg Forest tracks yesterday, we came across a nice population of Equisetum variegatum, which I have never seen in a plantation before. Along a 1mile stretch of gravelled road we recorded 170 species of plants (vascular plants and bryophytes).

Equisetum variegatum along edge of gravelled forest road, Glyncorrwg


  1. The Hygroamblystegium looks and sounds very plausible to me and happy to give a second opinion on your voucher as and when. The Equisetum is intriguing- I found a small colony at Crosshands along with Bryum algovicum a week or two back, but this was clearly imported with sand. I can speculate that yours might have made its way onto the forest track via a motorcycle given all the activity in the dunes these days? These bikers get all over the place usually transporting their contaminated bikes in Transit vans. Good record however it made it there.

  2. Thanks Barry.
    I think we can regard these forest road habitats as semi-natural for Equisetum variegatum. They are very similar to its habitats in north and central Europe, i.e. wet, well-drained gravel/silt (often in mountains) - it is ubiquitous in the Alps. It's a pioneer colonist (e.g.lake shores, glacial moraines) and doesn't necessarily require human aid for dispersal. It grows very slowly and there is quite a bit of it there, so It has probably been there a long time (it's easy to miss).