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Meetings of the BBS - 1965


Annual Meeting 1965

Llandrindod Wells, 6-13 April

The 1965 Annual General and Field Meeting of the Society was held at Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire, from 6 to 13 April. This was the first visit of the Society to Radnorshire, a county which was relatively unknown bryologically. During the course of the week localities situated on a variety of rock types, including Silurian shales, Carboniferous and Silurian limestones and Old Red Sandstone, were visited. This variation in types of habitat, together with the large number of localities visited, resulted in the finding of about fifty new vice-county records and the listing of from 61 to 180 species in twenty 10 km. grid squares for the mapping scheme.

The morning of the first excursion on 7 April was spent on Craig-ddu cliffs and in the valley below, near Rhayader (v.-c. 43). Bryum riparium* was found in the bed of the valley stream and was later found to be not infrequent, though in small quantities, in shale crevices in and beside streams throughout the area. Also by the stream there were Sphagnum teres*, Ditrichum lineare*, Dicranella subulata, Campylopus introflexus*, Hypnum cupressiforme var. mamillatum* and Nardia compressa*, and on nearby trees Zygodon viridissimus var. vulgaris*. In some small caves by the road small quantities of Schistostega pennata* were discovered. Most members spent the afternoon in the vicinity of the Afon Diluw where it flows through a deep, damp gorge forming the boundary between Cardiganshire and Montgomery. Species of interest found on the Montgomery (v.-c. 47) side of the stream included Sphagnum tenellum*, Atrichum crispum*, Campylopus subulatus, Pohlia elongata*, Bryum riparium, Pellia neesiana*, Plectocolea hyalina*, P. obovata and Odontoschisma sphagni*.

[* New v.-c. record throughout. ]

The Aberedw Rocks (v.-c. 43) were visited on the morning of 8 April. The rock outcrop is formed from a series of horizontally bedded sandstones of varying degrees of basicity and faces west. Amongst the 130 or so species recorded were Fissidens minutulus var. tenuifolius, Seligeria recurvata, Rhabdoweisia fugax*, Weissia rutilans* Bartramia stricta, Zygodon viridissimus vars. stirtonii and vulgaris, Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum, Scleropodium tourretii, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei, Targionia hypophylla, Lophozia excisa*, L. bicrenata, Marchesinia mackaii and Frullania tamarisci vars. cornubica* and robusta*.

In the afternoon a party visited the banks of the river Wye and a tributary, the Bach Howey, still in v.-c. 43, near Erwood. On the trunks of various trees, especially on ash, there was a considerable growth of epiphytes, including Tortula subulata var. subinermis, Orthotrichum rivulare and a lush form of O. affine with broad, wide-pointed leaves. On rocks in and beside the Wye and Bach Howey were Cinclidotus fontinaloides, Grimmia alpicola var. rivularis and Scleropodium caespitosum. On patches of muddy rutted ground with casual weeds, giving rise to temporary bryophyte communities, were Fissidens exilis*, Pleuridium subulatum, Ephemerum serratum var. serratum*, Funaria fascicularis, Pohlia delicatula* and Riccia glauca*.

A second party visited Llanddewi'r Cwm in Breconshire (v.-c. 42) and recorded Fissidens rufulus, Cynodontium bruntonii, Mnium longirostrum, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei, Isopterygium depressum, Solenostoma pumilum, S. sphaerocarpoideum and Porella cordaeana.

The third day's excursion was to the Elan Valley (v.-c. 43). Most of the party spent the morning exploring a precipitous stream draining into the Garreg-ddu reservoir. Although the rock was Silurian shale there were a few slightly basic patches as evidenced by the presence of Ctenidium molluscum. However, little of note was found other than Cynodontium bruntonii, Rhabdoweisia denticulata, Pohlia elongata, Pellia neesiana, Barbilophozia attenuata*, Marsupella aquatica*, Lophocolea heterophylla* and Frullania fragilifolia. The most interesting find of the week, Solenostoma caespiticium*, was made by a small group of members who had missed the main party and stopped at the northern end of the Garreg-ddu reservoir. They also found Rhabdoweisia fugax and Ditrichum lineare. The afternoon was extremely wet and the party split into small groups, most of whom returned early to Llandrindod Wells. A party visited a waterfall north of Rhosygelynnen by the Garreg-ddu reservoir where they saw Dicranodontium denudatum* and Odontoschisma denudatum*. A small group paid a quick visit to Constitution Hill, Aberystwyth (v.c. 46), where they saw Trichostomum brachydontium var. littorale and Coscinodon cribrosus. Barbula rigidula* was recorded from the Penygarreg reservoir (v.-c. 43).

On 10 April the excursion was to the Black Mountain and valley of the Afon Sawdde and its tributaries in eastern Carmarthenshire (v.-c. 44). Much of the Black Mountain is Carboniferous limestone overlying Old Red Sandstone. The latter rock outcrops to the north of the Black Mountain in the valley of the Afon Sawdde. The weather was wet in the morning but despite this a number of interesting species was found on rock ledges and in the quarries of the Black Mountain. Amongst them were Distichium inclinatum, Tortula subulata var. graeffii*, Mnium marginatum, Philonotis calcarea, Scapania cuspiduligera and S. aequiloba. Grimmia stricta* was recorded from another part of the mountain. In the afternoon small parties visited various parts of the valleys to the north of the mountain. The Old Red Sandstone proved acid and the flora was less rich than had been hoped. Pohlia bulbifera*, Zygodon conoideus*, Plagiothecium succulentum*, Leiocolea muelleri and Lejeunea cavifolia* were found by the Sawdde Fechan south-east of Llangadock. By a small tributary of the Afon Clydach at Pont Aber, Fissidens minutulus var. minutulus, Mnium longirostrum and Lejeunea ulicina* were noted and, by the Afon Mihertach, Dicranodontium denudatum* and Ptilidium pulcherrimum*.

A small party spent a strenuous day visiting Carreg yr Ogof where they were rewarded with Bryum mildeanum*.

The annual general meeting of the Society was held at the headquarters hotel in the evening.

There were no organized excursions on Sunday, 11 April, and a number of localities were visited by small groups of members. The places visited and some of the species found are as follows:
Tarren yr Esgob in the Black Mountains (v.-c. 42): The rocks visited were basic and species seen included Seligeria trifaria, Encalypta ciliata, Tortula subulata vars. subulata and graeffii, Leptobryum pyriforme*, Anomobryum concinnatum, Philonotis calcarea, Isopterygium pulchellum, Lophozia alpestris, Leiocolea bantriensis, Solenostoma sphaerocarpoideum*, Scapania subalpina and Frullania tamarisci var. cornubica* .
By the Afon Tywi near Ystafell Twm Shon-Catti (v.-c. 44): Sphagnum quinquefarium, Campylopus subulatus, a tall, densely tufted form of Rhacomitrium heterostichum, Zygodon viridissimus var. vulgaris*, Lophozia alpestris*, Plectocolea hyalina, Cephaloziella starkei, Scapania subalpina, Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica*.
Roadside near Llanwrtyd Wells (v.-c. 42): Schistostega pennata*, Marsupella ustulata, Cephaloziella hampeana.
Below Banc-y-cwm, Cwm Graig Ddu near Garth (v.-c. 42): Lejeunea patens* Frullania tamarisci var. cornubica.
Ogofau gold mines near Pumpsaint (v.-c. 44): Zygodon viridissimus var. vulgaris, Eurhynchium praelongum var. stokesii.

The excursions on the last day, 12 April, were to Water-break-its-neck and Stanner Rocks, both in Radnorshire (v.-c. 43). The former is a cascade falling into a humid gorge eroded through Silurian shale. It was hoped to see there Fissidens algarvicus recorded previously in 1957 (Trans. BBS 3, 476). Attempts to find the plant were, however, unsuccessful and it would seem that the species is of short duration at least in some habitats. In the course of the search for it a number of other species was found including Fissidens viridulus, F. minutulus var. tenuifolius, Bryum capillare var. elegans*, Isopterygium pulchellum*, Plectocolea obovata and Cephaloziella starkei. On a bank beside the track to the waterfall there was a little Diplophyllum obtusifolium.

Stanner Rocks is a partly quarried outcrop of Silurian limestone beside the Worcester-Aberystwyth road and is very well known botanically. Species recorded on this visit included Grimmia commutata, G. stirtonii, G. subsquarrosa, Bartramia stricta and, on the trunk of an elm at the foot of rocks, Tortula papillosa*.

After visiting Stanner Rocks the party split up, members visiting various localities (all in v.-c. 43) as follows:
Llandegle Rocks: Grimmia doniana, Orthodontium lineare, Barbilophozia attenuata, Cephaloziella starkei, Porella cordaeana.
Small rock outcrop west of Abbey Cwmhir: Grimmia conferta.
By the Clywedog Brook east of Abbey Cwmhir: a diminutive form of Fontinalis antipyretica on partly submerged alder roots, Plagiothecium latebricola*.
Camnant Brook north of Castle Bank: Dicranum bonjeanii, Scorpidium scorpioides, Acrocladium stramineum, Cephaloziella hampeana, C. starkei.



Summer Meeting 1965

Grasmere, 12-17 September

This meeting was held at Grasmere. All the collecting, except for a short venture into Cumberland (v.-c. 70) on one day, was done in Westmorland (v.-c. 69). The attendance, which fluctuated somewhat from day to day, was small, no more than thirteen members being in the field at any one time.

12 September. The first excursion was by way of Dungeon Ghyll to Stickle Tarn. Marsupella funckii, Oedipodium griffithianum and Lophozia alpestris were found on the way up the path, Cephaloziella pearsonii and Tetraphis browniana grew on the damp rocky sides of the ghyll, Among other bryophytes seen near the ghyll were. Dicranum blyttii and Grimmia doniana (both found frequently during the meeting), Rhacomitrium ellipticum, Barbilophozia atlantica, Anastrepta orcadensis, Frullania tamarisci var. cornubica*, Scapania subalpina* and Solenostoma sphaerocarpum. Scapania scandica* was found on the slopes above the ghyll. On the cliffs of Pavey Ark above Stickle Tarn, a form of Ditrichum heteromallum with a very rough subula. was collected. Also seen on the crags were Oedipodium griffithianum, Nardia compressa, Cololejeunea calcarea and Radula lindbergiana. Gymnomitrion crenulatum and Marsupella ustulata were seen on rocks below Stickle Tarn. Bryum microerythrocarpum was found on an old road in Great Langdale.

[* New v.-c. record throughout. ]

On the return journey some members stopped at Skelwith Bridge to collect Atrichum crispum.

13 September was warm and sunny and the party set out to explore Far Easedale. Barbilophozia barbata was seen in fine condition on a wall near Grasmere, also Pohlia annotina var. decipiens. Hedwigia integrifolia was seen in some quantity on sloping boulders by the path together with Pterogonium gracile and Scapania subalpina. Campylopus subulatus and Pohlia rothii* were found on the track. A small valley bog yielded several species of Sphagnum including S. robustum and S. teres. A walk up the grassy hillside brought the party to large boulders and sheer crags. Very little basic ground was found but the following species were seen: Acrocladium sarmentosum, Archidium alternifolium, Bartramia pomiformis var. elongata, Campylopus subulatus, Dicranella subulata var. curvata, Pohlia polymorpha, P. rothii, Rhabdoweisia crenulata, Tetraplodon mnioides, Barbilophozia atlantica, Cephaloziella starkei and Marsupella aquatica. Grimmia ovalis was seen on a wall in Far Easedale, and on Helm Crag one member found Cynodontium bruntonii and C. jenneri.

14 September. In spite of lowering skies it remained dry, apart from a few showers early on. From the car park at the head of Langdale Valley the party made its way towards Oxendale where Seligeria recurvata was seen on a wall. Bryum ruderale was collected from the edge of the track.

Most members chose to work Brown Gill in preference to Hell Gill or Crinkle Gill. Cephaloziella pearsonii was plentiful and Andreaea alpina was seen at about 600 ft. alt. but at first interesting species were few. However, better ground was found by lunch time. The most noteworthy bryophytes seen in and on the banks of the gill were: Amphidium lapponicum, Anoectangium compactum, Grimmia stricta, Orthothecium intricatum, Rhabdoweisia crenulata, Rhacomitrium ellipticum, Splachnum sphaericum, Tetraphis browniana, Tetraplodon mnioides, Anastrepta orcadensis, Marsupella ustulata, Plectocolea paroica*, Scapania aequiloba and S. aspera. Also noted were Plagiobryum zieri, Pohlia elongata, and Sphagnum quinquefarium.

Some members climbed on to Crinkle Crags and were rewarded by Hygrobiella laxifolia, Marsupella adusta and M. stableri. One member found an unusually large form of Oedipodium griffithianum at about 2500 ft. alt., at the head of Crinkle Gill. Bryum bornholmense* was collected in a field below Side Pike.

15 September was a free day. The weather was the worst of the meeting with rain and low cloud all day. Nevertheless everyone went out and did what they could. Some went to Barrowfield near Kendal and managed to refind Jamesoniella undulifolia in small quantity. Others explored Tom Gill near Tarn Howes; Fontinalis squamosa was found in the stream and Plagiothecium curvifolium in the wood. In the fen and scrub about Blelham Tarn near the north-west shore of Windermere the most interesting things seen were Mnium seligeri, Zygodon conoideus and Pellia neesiana. The northern shore of Grasmere and Hunting Stile and Silver Howe, hills to the west of Grasmere, were visited by the remainder of the party and gave the best finds of the day, including Acrocladium giganteum, Mnium cinclidioides, Cephaloziella hampeana, Jamesoniella autumnalis, Marchantia polymorpha var. aquatica and Ptilidium pulcherrimum.

16 September brought another change in the weather and the journey was made under clearing skies to explore the Duddon Valley at Seathwaite, an area of which little was known. Hedwigia integrifolia was found on rocks in the woodland between the river and the road, Grimmia doniana on the trunk of an ash tree on the river bank. One member who worked the ground on the eastern side of the road found Campylopus introflexus*. A short time was spent on the other side of the river in v.-c. 70 where Cynodontium bruntonii and Pohlia elongata were seen.

After lunch it was decided to visit the sand dunes at Sandscale Haws, near Dalton-in-Funess. Moist dune slacks were hard to find and not very productive. The following species were seen in the area: Amblystegium serpens var. salinum, Brachythecium mildeanum, Campylium chrysophyllum, Climacium dendroides, Tortella inclinata, Cephaloziella hampeana and Lophozia excisa. Bryum warneum, recorded from there in 1961, was not refound and Moerckia flotoviana, another plant recorded at the same time, was only found in very small quantity. Two members who walked along the dunes from Askham-in-Furness found Bryum warneum in plenty, also B. inclinatum, B. pendulum, B. intermedium, and Cephaloziella starkei.

17 September, the last day, started with an unsuccessful search for Habrodon perpusillus, recorded from near the old boathouse at the east end of Rydal Water. The party then attacked Nab Scar. The short but steep route to the summit proved dull and yielded little besides Marsupella funckii and Leptodontium flexifolium. Some members continued over the Nab and found a flush with Drepanocladus vernicosus, Cephaloziella rubella and Leiocolea bantriensis. They then returned to Rydal Water near which they explored an old slate quarry noting the following species: Acrocladium giganteum, Campylopus subulatus, Philonotis capillaris, Sphagnum subsecundum var. subsecundum and Pellia neesiana. Others descended to the low ground beside Rydal Beck. In an area of damp and decaying woodland near the beck Dicranum montanum*, Nowellia curvifolia and Ptilidium pulcherrimum were seen. The woodland above Rydal Hall was then entered. Fissidens celticus* was found on the steep earthy bank of a small ravine. This is a considerable extension of its known range in the southern counties of England and Wales, linked by a recent record in Merioneth. Plectocolea paroica was also found in the ravine. Other species found in the wood were Jamesoniella autumnalis, Plagiochila tridenticulata and Sphenolobus helleranus - the latter in great quantity on a fallen tree trunk. Dicranum montanum was abundant on two trees.

The number of new records made on the meeting was small but this was not surprising in an area which had been so well worked in the past, though few people have collected in Westmorland in recent years. Record cards for the mapping scheme were conscientiously filled in and this made the meeting worth while. All those present would like to thank Mr R. D. Fitzgerald for arranging such a pleasant meeting.



Autumn Meeting 1965

Nottingham, 24-25 October

Autumn Meeting 1965, Nottingham, 23-24 October

A week-end meeting was held on 23 and 24 October in the Botany Department, University of Nottingham, by kind permission of Prof. C. G. C. Chesters.

About thirty-five members and guests attended the paper-reading sessions on the Saturday. The President, Dr. E. V. Watson, introduced the speakers and summaries of the papers are given below.

Dr R. E. LONGTON: 'Some problems concerning the fertility of bryophytes.'

Field studies showed that sporophytes of the dioecious moss Pleurozium schreberi are rare over southern Britain, but widespread in northern Scotland and parts of southern Scandinavia, which form a zone towards the centre of the species' latitudinal range. The rarity of capsules in southern Britain and some areas abroad was attributed to a corresponding rarity of male inflorescences, as bisexual specimens were collected in most fruiting localities, but only perichaetia were normally present elsewhere. Sporophyte development was stimulated experimentally by transplanting male plants into female colonies, but six non-fruiting bisexual localities were recorded in East Anglia. Under controlled conditions the rates of spore germination and vegetative growth increased with temperature independently of photoperiod between 5° and 20°C. The growth rates of male and female plants were similar, however, and there was no evidence that a narrower range of environmental conditions is necessary to stimulate perigonial than perichaetial initiation. It was thus not determined whether the rarity of male inflorescences results from a corresponding rarity of male plants or from failure in perigonial production. The former explanation was considered more likely, however, as perigonia developed during four successive years on male plants transplanted from East Anglia to the Wyre Forest, where male inflorescences were not recorded in natural populations. Preliminary results suggested a greater frequency of perichaetia than perigonia in four other species of dioecious moss rarely fruiting in Britain.

Miss M. L. BOWERING: 'Variation in Philonotis.'

The taxonomic problems posed by the genus were briefly considered and an account of the work carried out on Philonotis fontana, P. calcarea and P. seriata was given. It was shown that for a number of diagnostic characters there is no intergradation between the three species and growth under controlled environmental conditions confirmed that they are distinct. The results of investigations on the intra-specific variation of P. fontana were presented. It was found that P. fontana var. tomentella shows distinctive characters which it retains under various culture conditions and it was suggested that this variety merits 'species' status. The other varieties show a wide and continuously variable range of form but become indistinguishable when grown under similar environmental conditions. This indicates that the differences do not have a genetical basis.

Mr A.J. HARRINGTON: 'The Ecology and Culture of Scapania aspera and Scapania gracilis.'

The distribution and habitats of S. aspera and S. gracilis were reviewed and attention drawn to the relative importance of climatic and biotic factors. Experimental studies concerned with the germination and early development of spores and gemmae in sterile culture were reported.

In a dilute nutrient solution spores and gemmae of S. aspera failed to germinate in the absence of calcium, and spore germination was significantly reduced at a calcium concentration of 10 mg./l. Calcium was not required for the germination of S. gracilis spores and had no inhibitory effect at concentrations between 10 and 160 mg./l. At 200 mg./l. a significant reduction in percentage germination was observed. The subsequent differentiation and growth of S. gracilis sporelings were seriously affected by calcium concentrations exceeding 40 mg./l. and at concentrations of 100-200 mg./l. a large percentage of the sporelings failed to survive. Magnesium was shown to be less toxic over the same range and it is of interest that soils from S. gracilis sites were found to contain comparatively high levels of exchangeable magnesium.

It was suggested that the distribution of these species could be partially explained by the response of their propagules to available calcium.

Dr B. H. GREEN:' Sphagnum species as ecological indicators.'

Field and laboratory measurement and experiment suggest that Sphagnum spp. have well-defined ecological tolerance ranges and can serve as useful ecological indicators. Quantitative description of ecad variation can also enable estimates of habitat variables to be made from plant material. Sphagnum remains are frequently well preserved in peat deposits and both techniques find important application in the elucidation of past environmental conditions.

Habitat water analyses from S. recurvum and S. pulchrum sites together with culture experiments indicate that S. pulchrum has a greater requirement for sodium than S. recurvum. This may account for its largely maritime distribution. S. imbricatum forms ecads in relation to the water level under which it grows. Measurements of branch density and branch length show direct and inverse relationships respectively with the depth of the water level. Measures of subfossil material indicate that the plant grew under higher water levels in the past than in most of its stations today.

Estimates of the relative abundance of species of the Cuspidata and Acutifolia sections over the mire surface in the past have been made from leaf counts of horizons of peat profiles of Wybunbury Moss, Cheshire. Aquatic Cuspidata dominate during wet Post-glacial epochs and terrestrial Acutifolia in dry.

Dr D. H. DALBY: 'Photography as an aid in the study and identification of bryophytes.'

By means of black and white and colour transparencies some of the main bryological applications of photography were discussed, particular emphasis being placed on those situations where photographs are more suitable than drawings. This may be, for example, when there are overriding demands for authenticity, accuracy or speed. Certain features such as leaf areolation and the spacial interrelation of parts of plants lend themselves particularly to photographic treatment.

General discussion followed the last paper. The President thanked the speakers, Dr J. H. Dickson who had arranged the paper reading, and members of the Botany Department who had given assistance.

The evening soirée was also held in the Botany Department, members being the guests of the Department. The exhibits displayed were as follows:
Dr R. E. LONGTON: Fairy rings in Antarctic mosses.
Dr D. H. DALBY: Photographs to demonstrate cell form in the leaves of Hypnum cupressiforme var. resupinatum, Pylaisia polyantha and Platygyrium repens. Habit and leaf structure in Fissidens celticus.
Dr J. H. DICKSON: (a) Fossil bryophytes of the Quaternary in Britain.
(b) Bryophytes of Wicken Fen.
Mr E. C. WALLACE: Photographs of bryologists from the album founded by the late secretary Mr A. Thompson.
Mrs J. A. PATON: Bryophyte herbaria.
There was also a display of (a) old books illustrating early distribution of bryophytes in Ireland (Mr R. D. FITZGERALD),
(b) early British and continental books on bryophytes (Mr A. D. BANWELL and Miss D. BEXON).

About twenty-five members and friends undertook the excursion to Monk's Dale, Derbyshire, on Sunday 24th, being favoured by a fine clear day in contrast to the fog which had hampered movement on Saturday. The Dale yielded a rich collection of calcicolous bryophytes, over 100 species being found, among which may be noted Gymnostomum calcareum, Plagiobryum zieri, Seligeria doniana, Trichostomum brachydontium var. cophocarpum, Pottia bryoides (in fruit), Barbula revoluta (in fruit), Rhynchostegiella tenella, Amblystegiella sprucei, Nowellia curvifolia, Scapania aspera, Solenostoma sphaerocarpoideum and Leiocolea muelleri.



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