Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A few bryophytes from Pennington Flash

I feel I've neglected the bryophytes recently, so with a bit of time to spare today I decided to have a look through some mosses and liverworts I collected at Pennington Flash recently. All of these are common, the blue tits and dunnocks of the bryophyte world, but it was nice to get my eye in again and remind myself of some bryophyte field characters.

Brachythecium rutabulum. Abundant, grows in woodland at the flash, on tree trunks and stumps. Easily recognisable due to its pale tipped shoots. Note the dark brown sphore capsules. The shape and colour of the capsules can be diagnostic when identifying bryophytes.

Amblystegium serpens. A very fine moss with tiny leaves. This specimin is growing on the fence near Tom Edmondson hide.

Cryphaea heteromalla. Grows on the barks of trees and is a very distinctive moss, with its capsules on short seta and all along one edge.

Hypnum andoi. One of the distinctive plait mosses, growing on trees.

Kindbergia praelonga. One of the commonest mosses in the UK, it grows on trees and stumps at the Flash. This and all of the mosses above are pleurocarps, i.e. they have branches coming from a central stem. In the case of Kindbergia praelonga the branches are easy to see, they makes the moss look like it has fern like fronds, but in other species pleurocarps can have very short branches which are not so obvious (e.g. some of the Hypnum species). Bryophytes which aren't branched (or are very sparsely branched) are called acrocarps (e.g Ulota crispa below).

Syntrichia intermedia, typically grows on stonework with this plant on the "pier" near Horrock's hide.

Orthotricum affine. Grows on branches, in this case grey poplar.

Ulota crispa on ash tree.

Ulota crispa under the microscope. Note the capsules.

Mertzgeria furcata. This is a liverwort, i.e. a bryophyte but not a moss. It grows on trees.

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