16 March, 2014

Bryophyte surveying

I found myself spending what was another ridiculously summer-like day surveying bryophytes at Hollybed Common, in the shadow of Worcestershire's Malvern Hills. I say 'surveying', when actually I was pretty much just looking on in awe as a group of experts from around the county (and beyond) effortlessly identified every moss and lichen put before them. In the past couple of months, my interest in bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) has reached the worrying stage where I can no longer suppress it, and so it was rather humbling to be able to key out mosses with help from the likes of Mark Lawley (author of the BBS field guide).

We ended the day having noted around 50 species, most of which were completely new records for this small under-recorded woodland site. One of the highlights from the session was the tiny rare liverwort Cololejeunea minutissima (Minute Pouncewort)- you can't help but give a respectful nod to the person who pointed out a species that is no more than a few millimetres in size...

Cololejeunea minutissima (Minute Pouncewort)- doing its best not to look like a bryophyte

Whilst I eagerly await a full species list from the day, here are a few more that I managed to remember the names of, although I can't take much credit for identifying them...

Conocephalum conicum (Great Scented Liverwort)

Ulota phyllantha (Frizzled Pincushion)- distinguished by the clusters of tiny brown gammae

Orthotrichum pulchellum (Elegant Bristle-moss)

Hygroamblystegium tenax (Fountain Feather-moss)

Cryphaea heteromalla (Lateral Cryphaea)

Mnium hornum (Swan's-neck Thyme-moss)

Plagiomnium undulatum (Hart's-tongue Thyme-moss) 

Plenty of Wood Anemone and Sweet Violet are now beginning to flower...

Nice clear views were had towards the Malvern Hills in yet another day of glorious sunshine. I bet there are some interesting bryophytes up there...


Ali said...

Careful now - those bryohpytes will grab you !

Billy Dykes said...

I sense a long slippery slope of misidentication and moss-induced frustration.

Really interesting moss blog you've got there by the way- it's straight onto my links list.