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Bryophyte portraits: Tortella bambergeri (Schimp.)Broth.



Graham Motley
Countryside Council for Wales, Abergavenny .

Tortella bambergeri was recently reported new to Britain by Sam Bosanquet in the Journal of Bryology (2006) 28: 5-10. The photographs below illustrating the species and its close allies were all taken by Graham Motley at various sites in the Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales, except where mentioned otherwise. A pdf of the paper can be downloaded here. [Please visit for full listings of online content from the Journal of Bryology]


Tortella bambergeri on an exposed and insolated boulder (Devonian Old Red Sandstone) – a typical habitat in south Wales. T. bambergeri often occurs on the tops of boulders. T. tortuosa usually occurs in close association, although it tends to grow on the sides of boulders rather than the more exposed tops and it is much more regular than T. bambergeri on cliff faces.



Typical appearance of Tortella bambergeri (with very small tuft of T. tortuosa at the upper left of the photo).



Similar sized tufts of Tortella tortuosa (left) and T. bambergeri (right) growing in close proximity. Tufts of T. bambergeri are often flatter and tighter than T. tortuosa.



Close-up of Tortella bambergeri showing straight, fairly narrow leaves, with fragile leaf tips and scarcely undulate margins.



Tuft of Tortella bambergeri starting to dry.



Dry tuft of Tortella bambergeri – rather tighter and neater appearance than dry T. tortuosa and more like T. nitida.T. nitida also has fragile leaf tips (it is often difficult to find any that are intact), but the leaves are broader and generally of a darker appearance, lacking the bright yellow tones of T. bambergeri (and T. tortuosa) and the back of the nerve in dry plants has a very shiny appearance.



Dry tuft of Tortella tortuosa. Sporophytes are rare to occasional on T. tortuosa (in south Wales), but appear to be very rare on T. bambergeri in Britain.



Tortella nitida, here on Carboniferous Limestone (Pembrokeshire) – in south Wales this species appears to be rare or absent on Old Red Sandstone and there appears to be little overlap with the habitat preferences of T. bambergeri, although the situation may be different in other parts of Britain. Photo: Sam Bosanquet.


Dry tufts of T. nitida (south Carmarthenshire).




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