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Meetings of the BBS - 1963

 

Annual Meeting 1963

Swansea, 4-9 April

The 1963 Spring meeting of the Society was held at Langland Bay, Swansea, and was the first visit of the Society to Glamorgan. Some thirty-five members and guests attended for the whole or part of the week and amongst them we were very pleased to welcome Dr and Mrs Per Størmer.

Of the five organized excursions, four were coastal, being to parts of the Gower peninsula and to the south-east coast of Glamorgan and the fifth was inland, to the head of the Vale of Neath.

The first excursion, on 4 April, was to the Bishopston Valley and Pwll du Head. In the churchyard at Pennard Bryum ruderale was found and on the banks of the lane from Pennard to the valley Eurhynchium schleicheri* was noted. [* = New v.c. record] In the wooded limestone valley bryophytes seen included Mnium cuspidatum, c.fr., Zygodon conoideus*, Orthotrichum striatum, O. stramineum, Cryphaea heteromalla, Omalia trichomanoides, c.fr., Radula complanata* and Lejeunea ulicina. Fissidens rufulus occurred in Bishopstone Pill and Barbula spadicea, c.fr. on an earthy stone.

In the limestone quarries and amongst rocks on Pwll du Head a number of soil bryophytes were found amongst which were Aloina aloides, A. ambigua, Pottia lanceolata, P. crinita var. viridifolia, P. starkeana, Phascum cuspidatum var. piliferum, Weissia crispa, Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum, Bryum rubens, B. ruderale and B. micro-erythrocarpum. Occurring on the rocks and in rock crevices were Tortella nitida, Bryum canariense var. provinciale*, Scorpiurium circinatum, Lejeunea cavifolia and L. lamacerina var. azorica. At the end of the afternoon a small party visited a wet heath between Llethrid and Cefn Bryn and found Lepidozia setacea, Cephaloziella rubella, C. hampeana, and Cephalozia connivens*.

The morning of 5 April was spent on Kenfig Burrows, a large area of sand-dunes with a rich angiosperm flora. The dunes were, however, disappointing as the water-table had been very much lowered by the drought during the preceding months which had desiccated the bryophytes. A few plants of interest were none the less seen and these included Distichium inclinatum, Barbula acuta, Tortella flavovirens var. glareicola*, Thuidium philibertii*, Amblystegium serpens var. salinum, Drepanocladus sendtneri, Eurhynchium megapolitanum, Leiocolea badensis and Cephaloziella hampeana. In the afternoon limestone cliffs near East Aberthaw were visited, stopping on the way at Candleston Castle to see Habrodon perpusillus. At East Aberthaw Southbya tophacea was seen growing over Eucladium verticillatum and Scorpiurium circinatum was also noted.

On the following day cliffs and dunes on the north Gower coast were visited. About the lower part of the north-facing limestone cliffs at Tor-gro near Landimore Pottia heimii, Barbula convoluta var. commutata*, B. ferruginascens and Thuidium philibertii were found. After lunch the party split up to visit several places. On a bank by the lane leading from Cheriton to Whiteford Burrows there were Weissia controversa, W. crispa and reciprocal hybrids between the two species. On Whiteford Burrows Petalophyllum ralfsii and Moerckia flotowiana occurred in dune slacks and Cryphaea heteromalla in a remarkably dry habitat on conifer trunks in a small plantation. On various parts of Llangennith Burrows Tortula ruraliformis, c.fr., Tortella inclinata, T. flavovirens var. glareicola, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Bryum bornholmense, B. canariense var. provinciale (on sand), and Drepanocladus vernicosus* were found. In a wood by Burry Pill Pottia bryoides, Acrocladium cordifolium, Anthoceros punctatus and Lophocolea fragrans* were discovered. Philonotis caespitosa, Pohlia delicatula and Pellia neesiana* were found on waterlogged ground at Coety Green, and a gemmiferous form of Ceratodon purpureus on a nearby roadside.

Sunday, 7 April, was a free day and several parties visited north Glamorgan and Breconshire. In the valley of the River Hepste north of Penderyn (Breconshire) Fissidens rufulus, F. curnowii, Mnium undulatum, c.fr., M. marginatum, c.fr., Fontinalis antipyretica, var. gracilis*, Barbilophozia attenuata and Cephalozia catenulata were seen. A party went to the imposing Craig-cerrig-Gleisiad cliffs last visited by the B.B.S. in 1927 and saw Barbula ferruginascens, Grimmia torquata, Bartramia halleriana, Philonotis capillaris, Plagiobryum zierii, Tritomaria quinquedentata and Marsupella funckii. Another party went farther east in Breconshire to the Craig-y-Cilau limestone cliffs below Mynydd Llangattock which produced Fissidens minutulus var. minutulus, Seligeria acutifolia var. longiseta, S. trifaria, Tortula subulata var. graeffii, Amblystegiella confervoides*, Cephaloziella starkei and Cololejeunea calcarea. The valley of the Tâf Fechan near Merthyr Tydfil, where the river runs through the only submontane limestone in Glamorgan was of little interest though Distichium inclinatum, Orthotrichum cupulatum and Rhynchostegiella teesdalei* were seen. Several members saw Atrichum crispum below the Craig-y-Llyn cliffs near Hirwaun.

On 8 April the head of the Vale of Neath was visited and the humid valleys of the River Neath and its tributaries explored. On the Glamorgan bank of the River Neath and Afon Pyrddin above Pont-nedd-Fechan, Fissidens rufulus, Dichodontium pellucidum var. flavescens, Tetraphis browniana*, Campylium protensum, Hygroamblystegium fluviatile, Rhytidiadelphus loreus, Ptilidium pulcherrimum, Leiocolea bantriensis, Plectocolea paroica and Cololejeunea calcarea were recorded, and on the Breconshire bank of the Afon Pyrddin Diphyscium foliosum var. acutifolium, Rhabdoweissia fugax, Bartramia ithyphylla, Riccia beyrichiana and Blepharostoma trichophyllum were found. On the banks of the upper reaches of the River Neath in Breconshire there occurred Ephemerum serratum var. serratum and var. minutissimum, Thamnium alopecurum, c.fr., Rhynchostegiella teesdalei, c.fr., and Pedinophyllum interruptum*; in the valley of the Afon Mellte, Mnium rugicum*, Pellia neesiana and Solenostoma atrovirens var. sphaerocarpoidea*. A small party went up the Swansea valley to the Henrhyd waterfall near Coelbren (Breconshire) where Fissidens minutulus var. minutulus, F. curnowii, Tetraphis browniana, and Solenostoma pumila were collected, together with Bryum micro-erythrocarpum from Cefn-bryn-brain near Cwmllynfell, Carmarthenshire.

The last day of the meeting, 9 April, was spent on the limestone of the south-west corner of Gower at Port Eynon and Rhossili. On the sloping cliffs of Port Eynon Point there were seen in the turf Pottia starkeana, Phascum cuspidatum var. piliferum, Tortella nitida, Weissia levieri, Funaria muhlenbergii, Bryum radiculosum, B. obconicum, Scorpiurium circinatum, Scleropodium tourretii*, Eurhynchium megapolitanum and Scapania aspera. About five miles farther west along the coast near Rhossili several of these species, including Weissia levieri, were again seen, together with Pleuridium subulatum, Campylopus introflexus*, Acaulon muticum, Barbula acuta, Trichostomum brachydontium var. cophocarpum, Weissia crispa x W. controversa, Grimmia orbicularis, Bryum canariense var. provinciale, Isothecium striatum, Ctenidium molluscum var. fastigiatum*, Fossombronia husnoti var. anglica, Cephaloziella rubella, C. hampeana, C. stellulifera*, C. starkei and C. calyculata*.

During the week fewer new vice-county records were made than had been hoped and it would seem that although there are a number of rare and interesting bryophytes in Glamorgan they are sparsely distributed and that a number of commoner species are unaccountably absent. A number of additional records were made to 10 km. grid squares for the map scheme and these may be of considerable historical interest in the future as Glamorgan is a county where there is much industrial and housing development as well as an increasing holiday industry.

A. J. E. SMITH

 

Summer Meeting 1963

Wooler, 1-6 September

The summer meeting was held at Wooler, Northumberland, from 1 to 6 September. Seventeen members attended for most of the week and their enthusiasm made up for the small number present. The meeting was organized by Miss E. M. Lobley and Mr R. D. Fitzgerald. Excursions were made into vice-counties 65, 80, 81 and 82.

The first outing was accompanied by torrential rain but the objectives - Hume Castle in v.c. 81 and Traprain Law in v.c. 82 were reached. At Hume the main plants seen were a fine growth of Tortula princeps, c.fr., on the lava crags and T. virescens* on an old ash tree. [* = new v.c. record] The long journey to Traprain Law which is unfortunately slowly being quarried out of existence was worthwhile. Large quantities of Grimmia montana, Hedwigia ciliata and H. integrifolia were evident on the porphyry, and Grimmia decipiens, Bryum alpinum and B. obconicum* were also seen.

The richest area in North Northumberland, v.c. 65, is undoubtedly the Cheviot Hills, and three days were spent exploring the main localities. The first excursion was to the Henhole where the Cheviot lava is prominent. The Bizzle was explored on the second trip, its mixed granite rocks and lavas having a profitable limestone content. On the third excursion the Hedgehope hill was visited with hopes of rediscovering Dicranum elongatum last seen there by James Hardy in July 1868. This plant was confirmed by H. N. Dixon and J. B. Duncan but has not been seen since.

From the Henhole the main species found were Oligotrichum hercynicum, Polytrichum alpestre, Diphyscium foliosum, Dicranella rufescens, Rhabdoweisia denticulata, R. crenulata*, Grimmia doniana, Oedipodium griffithianum, Tetraplodon mnioides, Pohlia wahlenbergii var. glacialis, Scorpidium scorpioides, Plagiothecium laetum*, Riccardia sinuata, Ptilidium ciliare, Barbilophozia atlantica*, B. hatcheri, Anastrepta orcadensis*, Marsupella funckii, M. aquatica var. aquatica, Gymnomitrion obtusum, G. crenulatum and Douinia ovata. Sphagnum species seen included Sphagnum subsecundum vars. inundatum and auriculatum, S. teres, S. girgensohnii, S. robustum and S. rubellum.

In the Bizzle great interest centred on the presence of Splachnum vasculosum, first found there by J. B. Duncan and only the second locality in England for this rare moss. The moss was found in Springheads at the head of the Bizzle in at least six separate clumps, all male plants. Other species seen included: Andreaea alpina, Brachydontium trichodes, Dicranella subulata, Cynodontium polycarpum*, from a stream to the east of the Bizzle by Mrs J. Appleyard, Cynodontium jenneri, Dicranum blyttii, Encalypta ciliata, Grimmia torquata, Tetraplodon mnioides, Philonotis caespitosa*, Amphidium lapponicum, Neckera crispa, Drepanocladus exannulatus, Plagiothecium denticulatum var. denticulatum*, Plagiothecium succulentum, Marchantia polymorpha var. alpestris*, Pellia neesiana*, Hygrobiella laxifolia, Lophozia alpestris, Chandonanthus setiformis var. setiformis and var. nemoides*, Sphenolobus minutus, Solenostoma pumilum, Plectocolea obovata, Marsupella emarginata, Chiloscyphus pallescens, Cephaloziella rubella and Cephalozia bicuspidata var. lammersiana*. Sphagnum species of interest were Sphagnum squarrosum, S. tenellum and S. robustum. From Midhill, just above the Bizzle, Cephalozia leucantha* was found.

The party split into two groups and one of these explored the Hedgehope area which was rather more barren than the other Cheviot localities. Unfortunately no one was able to find Dicranum elongatum whose presence on the hill must now be considered very dubious. The finds of interest were: Polytrichum gracile, Dicranella rufescens, Dicranum blyttii, Leptodontium flexifolium, Drepanocladus fluitans var. falcatum*, Plagiothecium denticulatum var. denticulatum*, Mylia taylori and Diplophyllum taxifolium*. By the Harthope burn Ditrichum heteromallum and Grimmia patens were found.

An interesting find from the Wooler area was Thuidium philibertii*, the first of this genus apart from T. tamariscinum to be seen in North Northumberland. Tortula subulata var. subinermis* was found at Happy Valley, near Wooler, v.c. 68.

Holy Island, v.c. 68, where there are wet calcareous sandy dunes, yielded an interesting group of species including: Distichium inclinatum, Encalypta vulgaris, Aloina aloides, Pottia heimii, P. starkeana*, Bryum pendulum, Amblyodon dealbatus, Catoscopium nigritum, Campylium protensum, C. elodes, Amblystegium serpens var. salinum, Brachythecium mildeanum, Riccardia multifida, Moerckia flotoviana, Leiocolea badensis and Cephaloziella starkei var. starkei.

In the afternoon the island was vacated, just ahead of the tide, and the Kyloe woods were visited. These large pine plantations span a number of Whinsill and Fell Sandstone outcrops. The outstanding finds here were Dicranum strictum growing on sandstone boulders and Grimmia ovalis, c.fr., on the basalt crags. Other species seen were Dicranum scottianum, Grimmia stirtonii, Ephemerum serratum var. serratum*, Orthodontium lineare, Plagiothecium ruthei*, Fossombronia wondraczekii*, Ptilidium ciliare, Lophozia excisa var. excisa, L. bicrenata, Barbilophozia barbata, Tritomaria exsectiformis, Cephaloziella hampeana*, and Scapania compacta.

The most interesting habitat for mosses in Berwickshire, v.c. 81, is the banks of the Whiteadder in the region of Elba and Edins Hall, the site of a prehistoric 'Broch' and of an old copper-mine. The river is rapid and forms deep pools where it has cut through the Silurian rocks. This area was the haunt of Dr Johnston, founder of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club in 1831, and more recently of J. B. Duncan. Unfortunately the river was still high but a number of interesting plants were found, especially Cynodontium tenellum* by the roadside at Elba by Mr and Mrs J. H. G. Peterken. Other species seen included: Dicranella subulata, Tortula papillosa, Barbula hornschuchiana, B. spadicea, Grimmia commutata, G. hartmanii, Pohlia proligera* on a sandy bank by the river, Orthotrichum rivulare, Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Plagiothecium denticulatum*, P. succulentum*, Ptilidium ciliare, Lophocolea fragrans, Cephaloziella rubella*, C. starkei, Scapania undulata var. dentata, S. subalpina, S. compacta, Porella platyphylla and Lejeunea cavifolia.

A morning outing was made to Hoselaw loch, v.c. 80, where we made a vigorous but unsuccessful attempt to find Dicranum bergeri in the raised bog at the end of the lake. The habitat had little variety and the only finds worth commenting on were Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum*, Orthodontium lineare and Bryum rubens.

An excursion to the River Till at Twizell bridge, v.c. 68, occupied one afternoon. The river had only just subsided from a heavy spate and boulders by the water edge were still covered. Sandstone rocks and calcareous cement-stone were the main habitats as well as a grove of old elder trees. Noteworthy finds were Fissidens minutulus var. minutulus*, Tortula latifolia, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, G. recurvirostrum, Eucladium verticillatum, Tortella tortuosa, Tetraphis browniana, Leskea polycarpa, Amblystegium compactum, Cirriphyllum crassinervium and Plagiothecium sylvaticum*.

The number of new vice-county records was quite pleasing, 19 for mosses and 12 for hepatics, considering that most of the areas visited have been intensively worked by J. B. Duncan and E. M. Lobley. Despite the initial inclement weather the meeting was a great success and was suitably ended with a dinner at the Cottage Hotel, Wooler. I should like to thank those members who sent me their lists of species from the meeting.

REGINALD HALL

 

Autumn Meeting 1963

Bristol, 27-28 September

The centre for the usual autumn weekend meeting, held on 26 and 27 October, was the University of Bristol.

Papers were read on the Saturday morning and afternoon, about forty-five members and guests attending. The President, Dr E. F. Warburg, introduced the speakers; summaries of the six papers are given below.

Dr R. S. CLYMO: 'Some aspects of the physiology and ecology of Sphagna'.
The substantial ion exchange properties of Sphagnum were demonstrated experimentally. In both living and dead Sphagna, the capacity for cation exchange is probably dependent on mixed sugar-uronic acid molecules, unesterified polyuronic acid making up an appreciable proportion of the dry weight of the moss. An approximate description of the cation behaviour of Sphagna can be given in terms of Donnan theory, although there are some anomalies.

By the use of parameters deduced from Donnan theory, and from measurements of plant growth rates (obtained in several ways), rainfall rates and the cation concentration of rainfall, calculations may be made of the pH to be expected in a Sphagnum bog. Such calculations show good agreement with observed values of pH, and it is also possible to account for various other features of pH variation in carpets of Sphagnum.

Dr A. J. WILLIS: 'Studies on the physiology of Tortula ruraliformis'.
The work which was described in this paper is published in full on pp.668-83 of this volume.

Mr P.J.WANSTALL: 'The growth and structure of carpets of Polytrichum formosum and P. juniperinum'.
The mode of growth of mature P. formosum by rhizome-like shoots was first described. It was then shown, from the results of contiguous cropped quadrats (1 cm. x 10 cm.) at right angles to the edge of the moss carpet, how, passing from the margin inwards, not only the average height of the shoots increased to a maximum but also the density. Towards the centre of the carpet the height and density of the shoots became irregular, so that the situation resembled that shown by Watt in an invading bracken association.

The shoots in carpets of the two species of Polytrichum from different localities and soils in Sussex and Essex were demonstrated to vary in density but generally the taller the shoots the lower the density, as might be expected. The proportions of shoots of different ages in cropped quadrats suggested that shoots of these two species might live for up to four years.

Mr D. T. STREETER: 'Growth and yield in Acrocladium cuspidatum'.
The annual yield and period of maximum growth of A. cuspidatum are controlled by habitat conditions. Dune slack habitats gave the highest yield recorded, whereas dry chalk grassland produced the lowest annual yield.

The nutrient content of the moss carpet varies widely in different habitats and with the time of year. It is higher when the moss is growing under scrub than when in open habitats; there is a significant positive correlation between the monthly rainfall and the potassium content of A. cuspidatum in these conditions.

Removal of the moss carpet from the mown droves of Wicken Fen results in the loss of 1·13 kg./ha. sodium, 6·60 kg./ha. potassium, 4·28 kg./ha. calcium, 0·43 kg./ ha. phosphorus and 5·87 kg./ha. of nitrogen to the habitat. This is of importance when considering the implications of moss-gathering from the point of view of conservation.

Dr K. BENSON-EVANS: 'Some aspects of the physiology of reproduction in bryophytes'.
Light duration effects on the initiation of the sexual state have been shown experimentally in gametophytes of four species of the Marchantiales, six of the Jungermanniales and one of the Anthocerotales and Sphagnales. In the first two orders, long days favour the formation of sexual organs and govern the number of sexual branches initiated; increased light intensity hastens the response. Application of auxins can induce structures similar to gametangiophores in Marchantia, Preissia and Conocephalum, but no sex organs develop and high auxin levels inhibit gametangial production on normal plants.

The importance of using cultures of known history was stressed in view of the apparent photoperiodic after-effects recorded for plants grown from gemmae. Anthoceros laevis and Sphagnum plumulosum become fertile in short days (8 hr.), remaining sterile in long days (18 hr.). Cryptothallus mirabilis and Lunularia cruciata have a low-temperature requirement that must be fulfilled prior to the stimulus of a temperature rise of 10-20° F. Regenerated growth from frost-damaged thalli of Lunularia, a native of the Mediterranean, will not give rise to gametangia when transferred to experimental chambers, whereas in Conocephalum conicum, a native of Britain, fertile gametangiophores can be induced on regenerative growth within two weeks in L.D. chambers at 70° F.

No evidence is yet available of light duration effects on gametangial initiation in mosses, but increased temperature may be stimulatory.

Mr P. D. COKER: 'Ecology of epiphytic bryophytes in Hertfordshire'.
Studies on the epiphytes of the main oak-hornbeam woods of the county were illustrated by colour transparencies. Elder was found to support the highest number of species and next were rotten stumps of oak; fewest epiphytes were on oak and hornbeam. These differences may be attributed to the high water capacity of elder bark and of rotten wood as compared with that of the impermeable bark of oak and hornbeam.

The prevalence of propagules in 'rain-track' areas of all the trees was noted, and it was tentatively proposed that the reason for their almost complete failure to establish on oak and hornbeam was because of toxic substances in the bark. The structure of the bark was considered of great importance in this connexion.

The absence of Tetraphis and Zygodon was striking, the epiphyte flora corresponding to the Bryeto-Aulocomnietum association observed by Barkman in Holland. Species involved in the primary succession on elder were generally Aulacomnium androgynum, Bryum capillare and Dicranoweissia cirrata; these were eventually superseded by the more vigorous secondary succession of pleurocarpous mosses. The paucity of the epiphytes in the county was attributed to drainage and the effects of atmospheric pollution.

Dr E. F. Warburg thanked the speakers for their papers, which stimulated lively discussions.

During the evening a conversazione was held in the Department of Botany, by kind permission of Prof. E. W. Yemm.
The exhibits displayed were as follows:
Miss R. J. MURPHY and Mrs J. A. PATON: 'Lophocolea semiteres (Lehm.) Mitt. and Telaranea sp.;
established on the Isles of Scilly'.
Mrs J. A. PATON: 'Amblystegium saxatile Schimp.; new to the British Isles'.
Dr M. C. F. PROCTOR: 'An Association-Analysis of the Census Catalogue of
British Hepatics and colour transparencies of bryophytes'.
Mr E. C. WALLACE: 'Photographs of bryologists from the album founded by
the late Secretary, Mr A. Thompson'.
Dr E. F. WARBURG and A. R. PERRY: 'Weissia levieri in Britain' and 'Mosses not recently seen
in Britain'.

Also displayed were papers of the late Miss E. Armitage. These papers, as well as her herbarium, are held by the Department of Botany, University of Bristol, and include personal correspondence, papers relating to bryophytes of the Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands, and her notebook containing records of Herefordshire hepatics.

On the Sunday, the field meeting in Leigh Woods was attended by about twenty-five members and guests. In fine weather, more than 110 bryophytes were listed in this old woodland which fringes the Somerset side of the Avon Gorge, an area of Carboniferous limestone well-known for its rare flowering plants.

The habitats visited included the shaded Nightingale valley with its rocky slopes, the towpath area along the Avon and the quarries which fringe the towpath. Fallen logs in Nightingale valley yielded Nowellia curvifolia, Ptilidium pulcherrimum and Dicranum montanum*. On the rocky areas were seen Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Fissidens cristatus, Isopterygium depressum, Isothecium striatulum and Rhynchostegiella pumila. Of interest was the find by Dr Warburg of Fissidens minutulus var. tenuifolius* in several sites.

[* = New v.c. record]

At least six species of Barbula were recorded along the towpath, and Encalypta vulgaris on the adjoining rocks. The quarries were examined fairly closely. Here were noted Scapania aspera, Solenostoma triste (with perianths), Bryum donianum, Campylium protensum, Distichium capillaceum*, Grimmia orbicularis and Gymnostomum calcareum. In one of the quarries a form of Tortella tortuosa with narrow leaves was collected.

Thanks are again due to Mr S. W. Greene, who arranged the programme of papers, and also to the Department of Botany for providing refreshments.

A. J. WILLIS


 

 
 
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