Field Meeting 1993
Brittany, 1 - 6 March
Acting as local secretary for an area I barely knew
was daunting but Council contributed towards a hectic, three-day reconnaissance
snatched in October 1992. This was vital in assuring the success of the
meeting. Most important, it caused me to switch bases to the picturesque
fishing port of Douarnenez rather than inland Quimper with its bad traffic
congestion, scarce parking and less suitable hotels. Douarnenez had ambiance.
The party proved to be an ideal size for trouble-free bryological exploration
in a land sans grid references. It also encompassed a blend of personalities
which ensured that our evenings in pleasant harbour-side restaurants were
a delight. Those attending included our sole French ‘guest’
Odette Aicardi, plus Jeff Duckett, Nick Hodgetts, David Long, Siobhan
McDermott, Ron Porley, Michael Proctor, Celia and Gordon Rothero, Angela,
Anton and Ivan Russell, Robin and Wendy Stevenson, Harold Whitehouse and
myself. Most were comfortably accommodated at Hotel Le Bretagne. We were
pleased to be joined on the excursions by Barbara (daughter of Ruprecht)
Dull and her friend Jörg who were staying with friends at Quimper.
Some people bryologized en route to Brittany. One of the best finds of
the whole meeting was the discovery by David Long of Tortula fragilis
on a shady wall top at Mont-St-Michel (Manche, Normandy) — a rare
species in Europe and probably new for France. On entering the département
of Finistère, where all but one of the days were spent, the streams
were seen to be in spate although the weather elsewhere had been very
dry. Later, we were left in no doubt about why Atlantic bryophytes are
so frequent in Finistère compared to other départements.
Nomenclature in this account follows Grolle (1983) for liverworts and
Corley et al. (1982) with modifications by Corley & Crundwell (1991)
THURSDAY 1 APRIL
Tréfeuntec and Dunes de Ste-Anne-la-Palud
A bright but breezy early spring morning found us, at low tide,
in the small rocky cove of Tréfeuntec about 6 km north-east of
Douarnenez. A Little Egret watched as the ‘Caledonian’contingent
headed with determination for the NE-facing slopes while others, with
sights set on Mediterranean bryophytes, made for the warmer SW-facing
slopes. Epipterygium tozeri, Fissidens curnovii, F. limbatus, Pottia
crinita, Frlllania fragilifolia, Porella obtusata and Plagiochila
killarniensis were seen only on the lusher NE-facing cliffs. The
sunny slopes, with schist outcrops protruding from a community of Ulex
gallii, Erica cinerea and Ruscus aculeatus, provided many
of the anticipated Mediterranean-Atlantic taxa. Gongylanthus ericetorum
grew sparsely on peaty soil under Erica with Entosthodon obtusus
and Juncus capitatus at the top of the slope. Bare rocks and
soil-filled crevices supported Campylopus fragilis, C. pilifer, Encalypta
vulgaris, Grimmia laevigata, G. montana, Gymnostomum viridulum, Pleurochaete
squarrosa, Pterogonium gracile, Tortula atrovirens, Trichostomum crispulum,
Riccia crozalsii, Scapania compacta and abundant Hypericum linari.
Interestingly, amongst these indicators of warmth and aridity, on some
locally shaded or irrigated SW-facing slabs, were copious quantities of
Andreaea rothii and Bryum alpinum, the latter with sporophytes.
Repeatedly during the meeting, we were to observe the remarkable capacity
of moisture-loving bryophytes to make a living in tiny ‘safe sites’
in otherwise exposed and unpromising localities on the sea-cliffs. Schistidium
maritimum (rarely plentiful in Brittany), Tortella flavovirens
and Trichostomum brachydontium occurred on rocks just above high
tide level. Overall this proved to be one of the richest (76 taxa) of
the coastal sites visited and an excellent introduction to Brittany. The
softer schist rocks and associated ‘head’ deposits seem to
provide a wider range of niches than the harder granites which form most
of the exposed coastline.
After an hour or so, the party walked round on uncovered sand flats to
the Dunes de Ste-Anne-la-Palud to the north. On a large dune system with
familiar species such as Tortula ruraliformis, Homalothecium lutescens
and Brachythecium albicans in abundance, we found that Pleurochaete
squarrosa, Scorpiurium circinatum and Rhynchostegium megapolitanum
were also plentiful. Most pleasing was a large population of Cheilothela
chloropus, first found in October 1992, on a low grassy hummock in
the south-west corner of the area with Didymodon acutus, D. fallax
and Pseudocrossidium hornschuchianum. The only site for Cheilothela
in Brittany listed by Gaume (1956) is Belle-lie (Morbihan). Damp ruts
produced several Bryum spp. including B. pseudotriquetrum and
B. inclinatum and Reboulia hemispherica. Patches of
Sambucus scrub yielded the epiphytes Tortula laevipila, Orthotrichum
tenellum, Zygodon conoideus and Z. viridissimus. Gathering
clouds forced us back to the cars where lunch was taken during a violent
Locronan and Forêt du Duc
In resumed sunshine a brief halt was made in the ‘showpiece’
village of Locronan which is built almost entirely from granite and has
earth-capped drystone walls along the main street. In one wall hollow,
a colony of Targionia hypophylla was discovered and immortalized
in plane and ‘3-D’ photography by Michael Proctor and Harold
Whitehouse among others. The main interest was provided by spectacular
sheets of Leptodon smithii growing directly on the rough granite
blocks constituting the south and west walls of the impressive church.
Much fun was had photographing both the moss and those photographers who
balanced precariously on buttresses to capture wet and dry states of Leptodon.
Bryum radiculosum, Cololejeunea minutissima and Porella obtusata
were also found on walls in Locronan, and a large Tortella which
entirely lacked quadrate cells on the ventral face of the nerve and appears
to be intermediate between T. tortuosa and T densa.
After congregating by an impressive outdoor granite pulpit of the chapel
on Locronan ‘mountain’ (289 m) the party visited Forêt
du Duc on its gentle northern slope. Predominantly a neglected Fagus
sylvatica coppice with some Quercus petraea and Sorbus
aucuparia, the wood has an understorey of Vaccinium myrtillus
and a little of the character of Wistman’s Wood. This results from
low stature of the beech regrowth, a smattering of granite boulders and
an extraordinary abundance of Rhytidiadelphus loreus and other
robust mosses such as R. triquetrus, Plagiothecium undulatum
and Dicranum majus. The most productive habitats were acid banks
and boulders along the track into the wood where Pogonatum nanum,
Ptychomitrium polyphyllum and Plagiochila killarniensis were
among the more interesting species noted. The luxuriant but relatively
species-poor epiphytic vegetation included Lejeunea lamacerina, L.
ulicina, Metzgeria temperata and Ulota bruchii. Hylocomium brevirostre
occurred in a few places on stumps and, in one instance, at a height of
about one metre on a Fagus stem but we did not see Leptodontium flexifolium
which was once abundant here (Gaume, 1956).
Afterwards the group dispersed, some examining fallow fields. At Rosaguen
(1 km west of Locronan) Bryum sauteri, Ditrichum pusillum, Entosthodon
fascicularis, Pohlia camptotrachela, P. lutescens and P. melanodon
were noted by Harold Whitehouse’s party. Gordon Rothero and David
Long visited the Forêt de Nevet near Douarnenez and, among some
common acidiphilous woodland bryophytes, found Leucobryum glaucum
and L. juniperoideum both in fruit. A wonderfully varied day’s
bryology was perfectly rounded off in a quiet seafood restaurant on the
quayside where the patron’s wife almost went into shock at the unannounced
arrival of 14 bryologists but who afterwards coped admirably.
FRIDAY 2 APRIL
On most days short stops were made to examine the epiphytes of village
trees and species on church walls. At Ste-Marie-du-Menez-Hom, Leptodon
smithii, Orthotrichum tenellum, Tortula papillosa and Ulota phyllantha,
all common in Brittany, were found on Ulmus in the car-park.
More Leptodon was seen on the granite church wall. A diversion
was also made to the summit of Menez-Hom (330 m) which forms the western
extremity of the Montagnes Noires range and from which we enjoyed a superb
view of western Brittany intensified by distant rain storms. Menez is
the breton equivalent to Welsh mynydd — a mountain. We did not bryologize
seriously on the eroded, heathy top which is famous for Per Størmer’s
original discovery of Campylopus introflexus in Europe and as
one of the few localities in Brittany for C. atrovirens.
Bois du Loc
Bois du Loc is the ‘forêt domaniale’ of nearby Landévennec,
a village at the mouth of the River Aulne. Steep north-facing slopes,
at the base of the Crozon peninsula, are clothed with dense Quercus
petraea-Fagus sylvatica forest almost down to the sheltered rocky
shore of the estuary. Again, luxuriance of a few robust species such as
Dicranum majus, Isothecium myosuroides, Pleurozium schreberi, Rhytidiadelphus
loreus, R. triquetrus and Frullania tamarisci was the main
feature. However, some commoner Atlantic bryophytes were seen, particularly
associated with granite clitter, including Heterocladium heteropterum
var. flaccidum, Hookeria lucens, Cololejeunea minutissima (a common epiphyte
in Brittany), Lejeunea lamacerina, L. patens, L. ulicina, Plagiochila
killarniensis, Saccogyna viticulosa, Scapania compacta and S.
gracilis. Amongst a reasonable list of woodland bryophytes Leucobryum
juniperoideum (c.spor.) was also noteworthy. Much interest was generated
by the discovery of Ditrichum subulatum and Entosthodon attenuatus
on a clayey bank just above the shore. Surprisingly, Gaume (1956) lists
only one locality in Finistère for D.subulatum. Amphidium-like
cushions on a shaded cliff on the shore misled most people and were in
fact formed by Rhabdoweisia fugax. Schistidium maritimum and
Frullania microphylla (one previous record for Finistère:
Gaume, 1955) were seen nearby. Deserted picnic tables at the top of the
wood provided an ideal site for lunch in warm and sunny conditions.
Cap de la Chèvre
The long drive to this southernmost prong of the Presqu’ile de Crozon
took us through Crozon, Morgat and a long stretch of wind-clipped heathlands
which, in autumn, are resplendent with flowering Erica ciliaris
and Ulex gallii. This is typical breton granite cliff-top habitat
and it looks extremely unpromising for bryophytes. In the eroded heathy
peat the most conspicuous species were Campylopus introflexus, Entosthodon
obtusus, Cephaloziella divaricata, Diplophyllum albicans, Frullania tamarisci
and Scapania compacta. More careful inspection of sheltered granite
outcrops, and particularly a line of scree below gentler cliffs on the
west side of the semaphore, led to discovery of Scapania gracilis
and Plagiochila killarniensis. Leucobryum glaucum turned
up in a seepage patch in otherwise exposed salt-clipped heath. A small
stream gully nearby produced Fossombronia angulosa and Sphagnum
denticulatum. Gordon Rothero found Plagiochila punctata, Riccardia
chamedryfolia, R. multifida and Saccogyna viticulosa in
similar niches on the east side of the cape.
Afterwards several people bryologized further along the east side of the
cape. Sunny cliffs around the Anse de St Nicholas near Keravel were notable
for Campylopus pilifer, Grimmia montana and Plagiochila killarniensis
plus Hypericum linariifolium and much Teesdalia nudicaulis.
Groups of white-flowering Asphodelus albus enlivened the mats
of dead Pteridium fronds on the cliff slopes and splendid evening
views were enjoyed across the Baie de Douarnenez during the drive back.
SATURDAY 3 APRIL
Montagne St-Michel D’Arrée
We left the cars in appalling conditions of wind and rain and were soon
sheltering in a dripping huddle in the hilltop chapel (380 m). A meeting
of eyes told us that this would not do and, as one, we ventured onto the
relatively sheltered north-east slope where a Dartmoor-like clitter of
granite boulders is the main interest. The hill is now badly abraded by
tourist pressure but Dicranum scottianum, Grimmia trichophylla, Racomitrium
lanuginosum, Barbilophozia attenuata, Lophozia ventricosa, Plagiochila
punctata and Scapania gracilis were found with some commoner
species during the briefest of searches.
The whole party halted momentarily in the nearby village of Brasparts
where a brief respite in the rain enabled the detection of Habrodon
perpusillus, Orthotrichum tenellum, Tortula laevipila and T.
papillosa on Aesculus trunks outside the church. Aloina
aloides and Didymodon luridus were found on a churchyard
The considerable expanse of bog and wet heath called Yeun-Elez near Brennilis,
in a depression in the Arrée mountains, now contains a large reservoir
and associated nuclear power station which dominates the landscape ominously.
The main objective, to find Sphagnum pylaisii, was soon satisfied,
again in heavy rain. Small quantities of the curious Rhizomnium-like
‘sedoides’ form were present in a roadside runnel but vast
quantities of the normal, blackish, branched form were present in shallow
pools. These, it was presumed, dry out in summer but they were vengefully
flooded during our visit. In trying conditions more than one person noted
that a less attractive bryophyte than S. pylaisii would be hard
to imagine. The other Sphagna seen were capillifolium, compactum,
cuspidatum, denticulatum (including large ‘obesum’
forms), fallax, magellanicum, palustre, papillosum, subnitens
and tenellum together with Campylopus brevipilus, Cephalozia
bicuspidata, Gymnocolea inflata and Odontoschisma sphagni. Pogonatum
nanum was found on a roadside bank nearby.
Forêt du Cranou
Lunch was taken on arrival in sodden condition at this extensive area
of attractive ancient Fagus sylvatica forest and the rain stopped. Forët
du Cranou has a similar ‘feel’ to the New Forest. A singular
feature is an extraordinary abundance of Neckera crispa, often
fruiting, on even quite young Fagus stems. There are no calcareous rocks
to account for this phenomenon, just clean air and long continuity of
the forest cover. Several trees in an area with picnic tables bore the
large lichen Lobaria virens and one patch of L. pulmonaria was
seen. Other bryophyte epiphytes were also luxuriant including Neckera
complanata (c.spor.), N. pumila, Ulota crispa, U bruchii, Zygodon
rupestris, Lejeunea lamacerina, L. ulicina, Metzgeria temperata and
Plagiochila killarniensis. The ground flora was less luxuriant
on the clayey soils than at rockier sites visited earlier but included
Hylocomium brevirostre, Ctenidium molluscum ‘woodland taxon’
and Trichocolea tornentella. Marsupella emarginata, Metzgeria
conjugata, Plagiochila spinulosa, Porella arboris-vitae, Fissidens dubius
and Diphyscium foliosum were recorded on stone or earth-filled
Back at the car-park, Jeff Duckett’s birthday was celebrated with
slices of tarte aux pommes. Later our President reciprocated by contributing
a superb and much appreciated seafood spread to the evening’s feast.
Brief halts on the return journey produced Habrodon perpusillus
and Tortula papillosa at Châteaulin, Leptodon at Hanvec,
and Leptodon, Tortella nitida and Porella plalyphylla
at Le Faou where, on another day, Tortula pagorum was also found
on town trees.
SUNDAY 4 APRIL
Ile de Groix
A fine spring day commenced with an early drive to the docks at Lorient
from where a small car ferry of the Compagnie Morbihannaise et Nantaise
de Navigation took us across to Groix in about an hour. This island of
Precambrian schist lies about 6 km from the mainland of Morbihan and is
like a diminutive version (8 by 3 km) of Belle-lIe which was just visible
on the southern horizon. After landing at Port Tudy we walked through
the main town, Groix, and then to the exposed south coast at Locqueltas.
Species of stone walls, hedgebanks, elders and stubble fields noted en
route included Cryphaea heteromalla, Dicranella staphylina, Didymodon
insulanus, Epipterygiurn tozeri, Phascum cuspidatum, Pseudocrossidium
revolutum, Scorpiurium circinatum, Weissia brachycarpa, Riccia glauca
and R. sorocarpa. A range of rocky and earthy habitats was
examined during a leisurely walk westwards along the cliffs, and part
way up a coastal vallon, until we reached Port St-Nicholas. Lunch was
enjoyed in perfect conditions near Locqueltas amid sheets of the impressive
non-British species Riccia ciliifera which was encountered in
many places, usually on peaty earth receiving some seepage. On soil or
rock in different niches on the cliffs were Acaulon muticum, Bryum
alpinum, B. dunense, B. pseudotriquetrum, Campylopus pilifer, Entosthodon
obtusus, Ephernerum sessile, Grimmia laevigara, G. trichophylla, Phascum
cuspidatum var. piliferum, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Pottia crinita,
P. recta, P. davalliana, Scorpiurium circinatum, Tortula atrovirens, Trichostomum
brachydontium, T. crispulum, Weissia perssonii (probably new to France),
Fossombronia husnotii, F. pusilla var. maritima (believed
new to Brittany), Gongylanthus ericetorum (scarce), Riccia
crozalsii, R. nigrella and Scapania compacta. Armeria
maritima, Mibora minima, Plantago coronopus, Romulea columnae, Scilla
spp., Trifolium subterraneum, T. suffocatum, Tuberaria guttata
and Ulex gallii were among the commoner flowering plants. Scanty
turf on the exposed Pointe de l’Enfer concealed confusing mixtures
of stunted Pterogonium gracile and Scleropodium touretii.
Nearby, a few bryologists descended into the dripping Trou de l’Enfer
and found Fossombronia angulosa and Mniurn hornum. At the head of Port
St-Nicholas some sheltered cliffs with seeps produced Campylopus fragilis,
Plagiochila killarniensis (which we were all coming to recognize
from its musty smell, nearly lacking in wetted P. spinulosa),
P. porelloides and Saccogyna viticulosa. On the walk
across the island back to Port Tudy further stubble fields near Kerloret
yielded Anthoceros agrestis and Entosthodon fascicularis,
and Scleropodium cespitans was found on a sheltered wall top
near Port-Lay. On a vertical exposure of ‘head’ by the track
just east of Port Tudy, David Long pointed out a large quantity of Tortula
cuneifolia (c.spor.) which most of us would have overlooked. It was
so comfortable socializing outside the harbour-side café that we
almost missed the ferry back to Lorient. That evening we learnt that a
relative of Odette had died and she had to leave us.
MONDAY 5 APRIL
More rain and south-westerlies accompanied our visit to this granite tor
(365 m) in the Montagnes D’Arrée a few kilometres north of
Montagne St-Michel. First the party examined another tor to the south
of Roc’h Trévézel which had a similar flora. These
rocks arise from the surrounding heathland with much Luzula sylvatica
about their bases and drapes of Silerie maritima. Bryophytes
found on the granite surfaces included Andreaea rothii, Campylopus
fragilis, C. paradoxus, Dicranoweisia cirrata, Dicranum fuscescens, D.
scottianum, Grimmia ovalis, G. trichophylla, Hedwigia ciliata, Heterocladiurn
heteropterum, Isothecium myosuroides, Mnium hornum, Polytrichum juniperinum,
P. piliferum, Racornitrium aquaticum, R. heterostichum, Rhabdoweisia fugax,
Barbibophozia attenuata, Diplophyllum albicans, Frullania fragillifolia,
F. tamarisci, Lophozia ventricosa var. silvicola, Plagiochila
punctata, P. spinulosa, Porella obtusata and Scapania gracilis.
The robust mosses Dicranum majus, Hypnum jutlandicum, Plagiothecium
undulatum, Pleurozium schreberi, Pseudoscleropodium purum, Rhytidiadeiphus
loreus, R. triquetrus and Thuidium tamariscinum were common
in sheltered heath between the granite outcrops. On the twigs of Prunus
spinosa scrub near the summit one group found Colura calyptrifolia,
Lejeunea ulicina and Ulota calvescens. The latter, collected
by Nick Hodgetts, is believed to be new for France. Metzgeria temperata
was plentiful on both sallows and slate faces in a small quarry on the
north face of Roc’h Trévézel. Ulota phyllantha,
Plagiothecium denticulatum and Sphagnum denticulatum were
also seen here. Racomitrium ericoides was found on heathy gravel
near the car-park.
Le Gouffre, Huelgoat
Huelgoat is the most famous place in Brittany for Atlantic bryophytes
(but see below); I am assured the name is pronounced with hard Celtic
syllables; -goat, is the same as Welsh -coed, a wood. The afternoon’s
exploration was limited to Le Gouffre (‘the chasm’), a wooded
ravine of the Argent river with several waterfalls. The wooded slopes
to the north suffered terribly in the 1987 storm and the following clear-up,
and tree cover had also been reduced in Le Gouffre. The bed of the river
contains many large granite boulders and on the bank there are concrete
steps and metal handrails at this popular tourist venue. One party crossed
to the southern bank and explored a number of side valleys. Others worked
the north bank and also examined a large area of carr beyond the ravine.
On the boulders, banks and tree boles of the ravine were Blindia acuta,
Brachythecium plumosum, B. rivulare, Cirriphyllum piliferum, Dicranum
majus, D. scottianum, Diphyscium foliosum, Fissidens dubius, Heterocladium
heteropterum vars. heteropterum and flaccidum, Hylocomium brevirostre,
Isothecium holtii, Oxystegius tenuirostris, Racomitrium aciculare, R.
aquaticum, Rhizomnium punctatum, Rhynchostegium riparioides, Sphagnum
quinquefarium, Tetraphis pellucida, Adelanthus decipiens, Bazzani trilobata,
Calypogeia arguta, Frullania fragilifolia ( Harpanthus scutatus, Lejeunea
cavifolia, L. lamacerina, L. patens, Lophocolea fragrans (especially
bases of large boulders in the river), Marsupella emarginata, Metzgeria
conjugata, M. temperata, Nowellia curvifolia, Plagiochila porelloides,
P. punctata, P. spinulosa, Riccardia chamedryfolia, Saccogyna viticulosa,
Scapania gracilis, S. undulata and Trichocolea tomentella.
David Long and Gordon Rothero discovered Jubula hutchinsiae in
more than one locality in side valleys on the south side of the river.
This species had not been seen at Huelgoat, its sole locality in Brittany,
since 1878 (Gaume, 1955).
Downstream of the ravine, I guided Jeff Duckett to an area of carr where
there was much Sphagnum palustre and S. angustifolium
and enquired whether this was right for Cryptothallus mirabilis.
He knelt down, peeled back the Sphagnum layer and there it was
(new to France). A spectacularly luxuriant epiphytic flora was seen on
the twigs of sallow and birch here including Neckera pumila, Orthotrichum
pulchellum, Colura calyptrifolia and Lejeunea ulicina and
the lichens Lobaria pulmonaria and L. scobiculata. Plagiothecium
ruthei and Conocephalum conicum grew on wet litter and tree
roots. On drier ground nearby Hylocomium brevirostre grew to
the exclusion of all other species along a stretch of track bank. On the
way back to the car-park, Andreaea rothii, Oxystegus tenuirostris,
Rhabdoweisia fugax and Racomitrium aquaticum were recorded
on dripping cliffs by the D769 road. On the return journey David Long
recorded Tortula pagorum on Tilia at Cast.
At Huelgoat I noticed that planting with exotic oak species had been undertaken
in some areas in place of the original storm-damaged beech and oak forest.
Conservation of the Atlantic bryophyte and lichen species must surely
deserve a high priority in the management aims at this rich breton site.
Establishment of the original canopy species would seem to be an important
prerequisite for the continued welfare of the bryophytes.
TUESDAY 6 APRIL
Fontaine and Vallon Saint-Pierre and Pointe de Leydé
On the final day three contrasting sites on Cap Sizun, the westernmost
extremity of France were visited. We started in calm and hazy conditions
on the north-facing, sheltered coast just west of Tréboul-Douarnenez.
The cars were parked near Fontaine Saint-Pierre, a holy well in which
luxuriant Riccia rhenana and Octodiceras fontanum were
floating. Hilarity followed as several bryologists examining these plants
were photographed on their knees before an effigy of the saint. We next
descended a small vallon carrying the blessed streamlet to the shore.
Several common hygrophilous species were seen (e.g. Fissidens dubius,
Fontinalis antipyretica, Hookeria lucens, Oxystegus tenuirostris, Thamnobryum
alopecurum, Chiloscyphus polyanthos, Conocephalum conicum and Riccardia
chamedryfolia) but one of the best finds, by Nick Hodgetts, was of
Marchesinia mackaii (rare in Brittany: Gaume, 1955) on the cliffs
below. Further westwards in the vicinity of Pointe de Leydé some
granite outcrops yielded Campylopus fragilis, Frullania fragilifolia,
F. microphylla (rare or under-recorded in Brittany), Lejeunea
lamacerina, the almost ubiquitous Plagiochila killarniensis,
Saccogyna viticulosa and Scapania gracilis. Soil and
rocks by the coast path produced Didymodon tophaceus, Fissidens viridulus,
Schistidium maritimum and Weissia perssonii and several
commoner species but the party soon craved a change of habitat.
Pointe de Lervily
A longish drive to the next site, about half way along the south side
of Cap Sizun, was interrupted by halts to view village trees. Pointe de
Lervily is a headland on the western side of Audieme composed of a low
platform of ‘head’ material with a boulder beach. The landscape
westwards is a sober prospect of abandoned fields marked by drystone walls
of granite enclosing deep gorse. On sparsely-vegetated flat ground in
front of the semaphore tower we crawled over an intricate crust of
Archidium alternifolium, Barbula unguiculata, Bryum alpinum, B. bicolor,
Campylopus introflexus, Ceratodon purpureus, Entosthodon obtusus, Fissidens
viridulus, Pleuridium acuminatum, Polytrichum juniperinum, Pottia crinita,
Scleropodium touretii, Tortella flavovirens, Trichostomum brachydontium,
Cephaloziella divaricata, Fossombronia husnotii, Gongylanthus ericetorum,
Lophozia excisa, Riccia crozalsii and R. nigrella. A local
resident, puzzled and somewhat alarmed by our activities, relaxed when
he discovered we were English! Lunch was taken watching a moderate swell
roll in from the Bay of Biscay in overcast and misleadingly peaceful conditions.
Bestrée Port to Pointe du Raz
Raz is Brittany’s version of Land’s End and equally over-developed.
On impulse, I thought it would be best to park short of it at Bestrée
Port, a tiny ‘Comish’ fishing narbour in an impossible cliff
niche, and walk around on the coast path. We started on the high cliff
path in still, bright conditions, but presently a wall of fog moved in
and the party immediately became enveloped and dismembered in a shroud
of soaking drizzle. In the highly-exposed and summer-baked maritime heath
only a few bryophytes were seen including Archidiurn alternifolium,
Campylopus introflexus, a curious, attractive, golden form of Hypnum
cupressiforme var. resupinatum (on granite), Polytrichum
juniperinum, Pottia crinita, Tortula atrovirens, Trichostomum brachydontium,
Weissia controversa, W. perssonii and Riccia sorocarpa.
At one point, a party of workmen loomed surrealistically out of the mist
as they excavated the course of the coast path. Until recently the ancien
sentiers des douaniers were sadly neglected in France in comparison with
Britain but, following legislation in 1976, local authorities now maintain
them to a high standard. As we approached the last stretch of the Pointe
Tortula atrovirens (c.spor.) remained the only prominent bryophyte.
Few people ventured onto the final fog-bound prominence; most retired
to the café before trudging back sodden along the road to the cars.
Several people had arranged to stay on in Brittany or travel to other
parts of France after the meeting. Robin and Wendy Stevenson, Barbara
Dull and Jörg stayed on in Finistére visiting, among other
places, the Gorges du Coronc where they recorded Harpalejeunea ovata
and Porella pinnata among other commoner Atlantic species. Four
of us tried to visit the Chaos de St-Herbot near Huelgoat which the late
Ted Wallace is said to have described as the ‘only good site in
Brittany. We were refused access by workmen at the waterworks below the
ravine but afterwards followed a path into an oakwood in the valley of
the Ellez river above the reservoir. Here granite boulders carried a luxuriant
flora including quantities of Adelanthus decipiens and other,
commoner Atlantic bryophytes. In carr by the lake Climacium dendroides,
Sanionia uncinatus and Zygodon conoideus were found. Driven
by a desire to find Plagiochila atlantica at its only known non-British
locality, David Long and I rapidly followed the path past the lake and
dam and descended the Chaos. This is a steep ravine on a grand scale,
filled with a tumble of gigantic granite boulders, much more impressive
than Le Gouffre. We had no time for a thorough inspection but noted tremendous
sheets of Hymenophyllum tunbridgense and large cushions of Bazzania
trilobata, far surpassing those seen at Huelgoat. Conspicuous bryophytes
such as Dicranum scottianum, Hylocomium brevirostre, Isothecium holtii,
Sphagnum quinquefarium, Adelanthus decipiens, Plagiochila punctata
and P.spinulosa were plentiful. Finally, after a breathless scramble,
Plagiochila atlantica was discovered by David where he thought
it might be; on a well-lit granite rock high above the stream on a SE-facing
slope. This was a marvellous high point on which to end the week.
Besides the obvious social benefits of a meeting in France, it was a rewarding
experience to compare the bryophyte flora of another part of the Atlantic
coast with ones experience in Britain. I found myself making comparisons
with Devon and Cornwall more often than with Wales and Scotland. Brittany
is perhaps richer in species than Cornwall and its paucity of the choicer
Atlantic bryophytes is partly offset by a greater number of warmth-loving
taxa but there are some curious omissions. Our few excursions, which added
two or three species to the French list and rather more to the flora of
Brittany, suggest that significant additions could be made by anyone engaging
in further work. I am grateful to all those who helped in the organization
or sent in records, including Pierre Boudier (Chartres), Francis Rose,
Tom Blockeel and Rod Stern for details of sites, and Michael Proctor and
Odette Aicardi for moral and linguistic support. A formal account of the
more important findings of the meeting is in preparation for publication
Corley, M.F.V. & Crundwell, A.C. (1991). Additions
and amendments to the mosses of Europe and the Azores. J. Bryol. 16:
Corley, M.F.V., Crundwell, A.C., Düll, R., Hill, M.O. &
Smith, A.J.E. (1982). Mosses of Europe and the Azores: an annotated
list of species with synonyms from the recent literature. J. Bryol. 11:
Gaume, It (1955). Catalogue des muscinées de Bretagne
dapres les documents inedits du Dr F. Camus [ and preamble]. Rev. Bryol.
Lichénol. 24: 1-28.
Gaume, R. (1956). Catalogue des muscinées de Bretagne
d’apres les documents inédits du Dr F. Camus [ except Sphagna].
Rev. Bryol. Lichénol. 25: 1-115.
Grolle, R. (1983). Hepatics of Europe including the Azores:
an annotated list of species with synonyms from the recent literature.
I. Bryol. 12: 403-459.
Field Meeting 1993
Dumfries and Galloway, 29 July - 3 August
The meeting was based on Castle Douglas, with
headquarters at the Urr Valley Hotel, where a number of members stayed.
Others stayed at hotels and B.& B.s nearby, and the location proved
to be satisfactory in terms of the range of comfortable accommodation
and travelling distances to the sites we visited.
Most of our excursions were in Kirkcudbrightshire (v.-c. 73), with a single
foray into Wigtownshire (v.-c. 74) and a couple of days in Dumfriesshire
(v.-c. 72). The terrain covered was mostly heavily glaciated Southern
Uplands Ordovician. The rivers flowing south into the Solway Firth give
rise to interesting tributary valleys, with semi-natural broad-leaved
woods. The bogs and mires in this area are varied, ranging from estuarine
mosses to hilltop blanket bogs, while the coast supports a number of cliff
Those attending included John Blackburn, Pam Belsham, Alan Crundwell,
Richard Fisk, Michael Fletcher, Jennifer Ide, Frank Lammiman, Peter Martin,
Chris and Alison Miles, David Newman, Gordon Rothero, Alastair Rowan (local
secretary), Phil Stanley, Rod Stern, and Harold Whitehouse. Not all were
able to be there for the entire meeting and there was some coming and
going, even (would you believe?) to attend occasional days with the Pteridological
Society which happened to have its summer meeting at Castle Douglas in
the same week. We were glad to have the company of Jonathan Warren, Ian
Langford and Claire Spray, local members of Scottish Natural Heritage,
on particular days. In the notes that follow, new vice-county records
are marked with an asterisk * and the figures at the end of each site
are the total numbers of mosses and liverworts recorded.
THURSDAY 29 JULY
Kirkconnell Flow (v.-c. 73, 26l96)
This National Nature Reserve lies on the west bank of the River Nith,
6 km south of Dumfries, and is a remnant of the estuarine peat moss which
once covered much of the coastal area of the Solway Firth. The day started
with heavy rain which cleared as the party reached the central raised
bog area. Here the higher water table gives rise to well-developed mire
communities. We found seven Sphagna: capillifolium, fimbriatum, magellanicum,
palustre, papillosum, pulchrum, and a dark form of S. subnitens suggesting
S. fuscum in the field. Other interesting species were Cephalozia
connivens, Mylia anomala, Odontoschisma denudatum, and Calypogeia
neesiana*. We spent some time looking for a previously recorded small
patch of Dicranum polysetum without success (it’s a big
bog). Chris Miles located it the following week, so it’s still there.
32 & 12.
We ate lunch in a sunny field near the afternoon’s site, Southwick
Bank Wood, a broad- leaved woodland lying adjacent to the shore, south
of the A7l0, about 2 km west of the village of Caulkerbush. The area forms
part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Southwick Coastal reserve,
which in turn is part of the Upper Solway Flats and Marshes SSSI. The
BBS meeting of 1961 visited this site, walking the marsh between the rock
pillars known as the Needle’s Eye and Lot’s Wife. We followed
a similar route and noted Cryphaea heteromalla on elder branches,
Orthotrichum stramineum, Oxystegus tenuirostris var. tenuirostris,
Plagiomnium affine on a damp rock face, Pterogonium gracile,
Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii, Frullania fragillifolia,
Lejeunea lamacerina, Marchesinia mackii, Plagiochila killarniensis and
P. spinulosa. We found most, though not all, of the 1961 finds and
were pleased to add to the list, bearing in mind that this was the home
territory of Humphrey Milne-Redhead. 44 & 19.
FRIDAY 30 JULY
Wanlockhead (v. 72, 26l8 1)
We set off in drizzly conditions to what claims to be the highest village
in Scotland, at 450m. This is an important mineralogical site, where lead
was mined for over 400 years. The main interest centres on the spoil heaps,
on which over 60 mineral species have been identified. The sheer extent
of this area makes it difficult to know where to start. We began in a
small tributary valley to the east of the Wanlock Water, with a ran of
micro-sites on the spoil heaps and hillside grass moorland with flushes.
These yielded Breutelia chrysocoma, Grimmia donniana, Neckera crispa,
Tetraplodon mnioides, Tortella tortuosa, Jungermannia exsertifolia
and Riccia sorocarpa among a range of species. It looked a hopeful
site for Ditrichum plumbicola but we searched in vain. 63 &
12. After lunching in a sheltered hollow we explored an area of spoil
to the west of the Wanlock Water, above a disused mine. This had less
variety than the morning’s site, adding little to what we had seen
already. Dicranella rufescens, D. varia and Oligotrichum
hercynicum were the most notable. 23 & 5.
By mid afternoon the rain was steady. We made our way to lower ground
with a short visit to Crichope Linn, east of Thornhill (v.-c. 72, 25/99).
Here a stream cuts an impressive 100-foot gorge through the Permian sandstone,
amid oak-ash woodland. The range of species was somewhat limited, but
included Chiloscyphus polyanthos var. pallescens, Nowellia curvifolia
and Scapania umbrosa. 21 & 10.
SATURDAY 31 JULY
Glenlee (v.-c. 73, 3 1l09)
This day took us to the Glenkens, territory which was examined in detail
in the last century by James McAndrew, a schoolmaster at New Galloway.
Humphrey Milne-Redhead also published species lists from this area, so
we had good indications of what to expect. We started at Glenlec House
where we were welcomed by the owner, Mr. Robert Agnew, who led us through
the Glenlee policies to the wooded gorge of the Craigshinnie burn. The
rain was light as we made our way upstream as far as the waterfall of
Buck’s Linn, under mixed broad-leaves and larch, giving delightfully
damp conditions and variable amounts of shade. We noted Eucladium
verticillatum, Hylocomium brevirostre, Hyocomium armoricum, Oxystegus
tenuirostris, Plagiomnium rostratum, Cololejeunea calcarea, Lejeunea cavifolia,
L. lamacerina, L. patens, Metzgeria fruticulosa and M. temperata.
57 & 28.
Mr and Mrs Agnew kindly provided the facilities of Glenl. House, and we
lunched under cover. We then crossed the river Ken to HoIm Glen (v.-c.
73, 25l67) and the wooded gorge of the Garpel burn. The agility of BBS
members is unlimited and impossibly steep banks were descended with ease
(well, nearly). We knew from McAndrew that this was a rich site, and so
it proved, producing a good diversity of species. These included Amblystegium
fluviatile, Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Fissidens pusillus, Grimmia hartmanii,
Mnium stellare, Pterogonium gracile, Taxiphyllum wissgrillii, Zygodon
baumgartneri*, Metzgeria conjugata, Plagiochila spinulosa, Porella arboris-vitae
and P. cordaeana. The new Z.baumgartneri record was
gratifying, considering that this area has been well worked over. 78 &
Alan Crundwell took the opportunity in the course of the day to examine
the grounds of the Urr Valley Hotel, finding a satisfying range which
included Bryum algovicum, Cryphaea heteromalla on elder, Plagiomnium
elatum (not rare on wet ground in the north but not to be expected
in the grounds of hotels), Plagiothecium curvifolium, one tuft
of Ulota phyllantha on an ash, and Lejeunea ulicina. 42 &
SUNDAY 1 AUGUST
Ravenshall Woods (v.-c. 73, 25l55)
This day we went westwards to the Cree estuary, near Carsluith, to a mixed
wood exposed to sea winds. The best way in was to descend the track to
the beach and go along the shore. Some members made it to Dirk Hatterick’s
Cave, an nearly inaccessible cavern of smuggling renown. The site yielded
a variety of species, including Cirriphyllum crassinervium, Cryphaea
heteromalla, Orthotrichum pulchellum, Plagiomnium rostratum, Rhynchostegium
confertum, Lophocolea fragrans and Marchesinia mackaii.
Gordon Rothero found Fissidens rivularis, an important new v.-c.
record and only the second for Scotland, the first being found recently,
again by Gordon, in Kintyre.
After a roadside lunch we pressed on into Wigtownshire, to Bailliewhirr
Meadow (v.-c. 74, 25l44), an SSSI near Whithorn. For a meadow this is
a highly variable site, ranging from well-grazed but unimproved grassland
to wet reedbeds, with little rock outcrops. Interesting species included
Barbula spadicea, Calliergon giganteum, Dicranum bonjeanii, Drepanocladus
aduncus, D. revolvens, and Scorpidium scorpioides. 44 &
Some members of the party then took the chance to visit the Whithorn archaeological
dig, but Harold Whitehouse, Peter Martin and Phil Stanley looked at a
number of arable fields on their way back. These comparatively unexplored
habitats yielded Bryum violaceum and Phascum cuspidatum*
near Whithorn (v.-c. 74), Anthoceros agrestis* in great abundance
near Crocketford (v.-c. 73) and similarly in a field at Kirkinner (v.-c.
74), and Bryum klinggraeffii*, B. sauteri* and B. vio!aceum
near Castle Douglas (v.-c. 73). Harold and Phil also examined some fields
east of Dumfries on their way home at the end of the meeting; they found
Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum* and Pohlia
lutescens near Cummertrees (v-c. 72). Other species seen in two or
more of the seven barley and wheat fields were Barbula convoluta,
Brachythecium rutabulum, Bryum rubens, Dicranella staphylina, Ditrichum
cylindricum, Eurhynchium praelongum, Pottia truncata, Pseudephemerum nitidum,
Blasia pusilla and Riccia sorocarpa. Total finds from these
fields were 20 & 5.
Another special survey was that of the Castle Douglas caravan park, by
Michael Fletcher. This produced 14 mosses and 2 liverworts, including
Bryum radiculosum, rare in Scotland, on mortar on a pillar by
the wash-house, and (still to be confirmed, at time of writing) Tortula
virescens, a possible new v-c. record, frequent on the tarmac of the site.
MONDAY 2 AUGUST
Silver Flow (v.-c. 73, 25l48)
This well-known NNR consists of a series of blanket mires with pools,
lying beside the Cooran Lane, the headwater stream of the River Dee. The
long drive through Garraries forest took us to the normal access point,
to discover that heavy overnight rain had raised the stream level from
its usual ankle depth to a respectable five feet. It takes more than this
to deter the BBS, and we retraced our route south by a mile, found an
access track through the Sitka, and got onto the Rig of the Crow’s
Nest. This is on the lower portion of the NNR, and on the accessible side
of the burn. We suspected that it might not be as varied as the northern
area, but we soon found 12 Sphagna: auriculatum var. auriculatum,
capillifolium, compactum, cuspidatum, imbricatum vars. affine
and austinii, magellanicum, palustre, papillosum, recurvum vars.
mucronatum and tenue, and subnitens. Other
finds included Cladopodiella fluitans, Mylia anomala, M. taylorii
and Pleurozia purpurea. 22 & 10.
The midges at Silver Flow persuaded us to lunch at our afternoon stop
at Garroch Bridge in the Glenkens. One half of the party then explored
Garroch Wood (v-c. 73, 25l58), a semi-natural oak-ash wood in the valley
of the Coom burn, and found Amblystegium tenax, Hylocomium brevirostre,
Hyocomium armoricum, Plagiothecium succulentum, Thuidium delicatulum,
Bazzania trilobata, Lophozia sudetica, Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. temperata,
Plagiochila killarniensis and Trichocolea tomentella. 56
The others examined the adjoining Hannaston Wood, higher up the hill and
drier. It had rather less variety than Garroch Wood, but yielded Orthotrichum
lyellii and fruiting Pseudephemerum nitidum. 43 & 20
(73 & 34 for the two woods).
In the evening Eric and Donald Watson and their wives joined us at the
Urr Valley Hotel, where we were greatly entertained and filled with admiration
by Harold Whitehouse’s wonderful stereo-photographs.
TUESDAY 3 AUGUST
Grey Mare’s Tail (v.-c. 72, 36l11)
We assembled at the National Trust for Scotland car-park on the Moffat
to Selkirk road, where we were met by Peter Bush, the NTS ranger. Peter
proved to be a most useful local guide. Conditions were drizzly but improving,
and the cloud base gradually lifted above the hilltops. We found that
the direct path to the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall was washed out
and dangerous, so made our way up the alternative path on the northern
side, with the peregrines protesting above us.
The upland Festuca-Agrostis grassland gives way to Calluna-Vaccinium
on the ungrazed steep valley sides, with wet rock outcrops and ledges,
some of which are quite base-rich. The higher moorland is mainly Calluna-Molinia,
with blanket peat on the tops. We climbed and bryologized to Loch Skene
(520 m) where we lunched in fitful sunshine. We then explored the vegetated
screes below the crags to the north-west of the loch, where the progress
of Harold Whitehouse among the boulders could be detected by the frequent
photo-flashes. This area is renowned for its botanical richness and has
been extensively covered over the years. D.A. Ratcliffe published an account
of the flora of the Moffat hills in 1959 and the BBS were here in 1961.
We therefore expected a good range of species, though new records were
Among the species of interest were Andreaea alpina, Anoectangium aestivum,
Arctoa flulvella, Barbula ferruginascens, Breutelia chrysocoma, Campylopus
atrovirens and Diphyscium foliosum. Gordon Rothero found
Ctenidium molluscum var. robustum on a basic flush at
550 m, some shoots of which Michael Fletcher intends to cultivate. Drepanocladus
vernicosus (a very rare species in Scotland, and scheduled under
the Bern Convention) occurred on a wet rock edge with Sphagnum
at 490 m. We also found Dryoptodon patens, Grimmia donniana, Hypnum
callichroum, Leptodontium flexifolium, Oxystegus hibernicus on basic
soil on wet rock at 610 m, O. tenuirostris, Philonotis calcarea, Rhabdoweisia
crispata, Schistidium strictum, Thuidium delicatulum, Barbilophozia atlantica,
Gymnomitrion obtusum, Jungermannia subelliptica, Leiocolea bantriensis,
Marsupella adusta on a north-facing rock slab at 600 m, and M. sprucei.
97 & 33.
General Meeting and Symposium Meeting 1993
Ripon, 18-19 September
The pleasant campus of University College of Ripon and St John, one of
the ‘new’ universities, was the venue for this year’s
AGM and paper-reading meeting. Ripon’s reputation as one of the
most genteel towns in the north of England certainly seemed to be deserved.
It was possibly the first time that the Society has shared a venue with
the Mother’s Union, who were there in force. Mike Longman excellent
organization ensured that a comfortable and interesting weekend was had
by all, including a beautiful woodland for the Sunday excursion. My thanks
to all the speakers for giving a range of very interesting talks. The
following summaries have been provided by the authors.
• Prof. P.W. RICHARDS (Cambridge): ‘Richard Spruce,
Richard Spruce, whose centenary is being celebrated this year,
was by any reckoning one of the greatest botanical explorers of the nineteenth
century and he was also a great bryologist. He was a Yorkshireman, born
on 10 September, 1817, at Ganthorpe near Castle Howard in the North Riding.
After he returned from his South American travels he settled first at
Welburn then at Coneysthorpe about a mile from his birthplace. In fact,
though he spent a year in France and fifteen years in South America, he
spent the greater part of his life in his native county.
His father (who had the same name) was a schoolmaster, first at Ganthorpe
and later at Welburn. He had a reputation as a mathematician and is said
to have been ‘highly esteemed and efficient’. The maiden name
of his mother, who died when he was eleven years old, was Etty and she
was related to the famous artist of that name. Richard was mainly educated
by his father, but he had lessons in Latin and Greek from a retired schoolmaster
who, to judge from Spruce’s proficiency in the classical languages,
must have been no mean scholar. Spruce never attended a university but
he was awarded a Ph.D. by the Academy of Sciences in Berlin 1864, presumably
in recognition of his published work and eminence as a botanist and explorer.
When he was 23 years old he became a mathematical master at the Collegiate
School in York. For a while enthusiasm for mathematics supplanted his
love of botany, but not for long. Having a regular salary and plenty of
time in the school holidays, he explored many parts of Yorkshire and made
many botanical discoveries. It was while he was at York that he began
to collect and study bryophytes. According to his own testimony, his first
‘advisor’ on mosses was Sam Gibson, a tinman or ‘whitesmith’
of Hebden Bridge, who, like a considerable number of working men at that
time, was a keen naturalist. Sam kept a copy of Hooker’s British
Flora on his workbench, which in parts had become so begrimed as
to be illegible.
In the 1840s Yorkshire was a fine field for bryologists. Spruce was particularly
interested in the bogs and fens of the Vale of York which were already
beginning to be drained and destroyed by the steam-plough. In some of
them Paludella, now extinct in Britain, could still be found
and he discovered Helodium blandowii, now also extinct, near
Terrington Carr in his home district. On Strensall Moor there were tussocks
of Leucobryum glaucum a metre tall. When Spruce took William
Wilson, the author of Bryologia Britannica, to see them he first
thought them to be sheep and then changed his mind for haycocks; when
he could see what they really were he declared that never in his life
had he seen such gigantic moss tufts.
Spruce added some forty-eight species to the British moss flora including
Myrinia pulvinata from near York (1841) and Platydictya confervoides
(formerly Amblystegium sprucei) from near Winch Bridge, Teesdale
(1843). He wrote several papers on Yorkshire bryophytes. The most notable
of these is perhaps that on the bryophytes of Teesdale: Spruce was one
of the first to draw attention to the great floristic interest of this
now famous area.
When working at York Spruce began his voluminous correspondence with bryologists
and other botanists in several countries, many of whom he came to know
personally later on. Among them were Borrer, Bruch, W.J. Hooker, Mitten,
Montague and Sullivant. An important contact for his future work was Dr
Thomas Taylor who invited him to stay for four weeks in his home at Dunkerron
near Kenmare in Ireland. While there Spruce was introduced to the wonderful
hepatic flora of Kerry and visited Cromaglan Mountain which he described
as ‘a paradise of mosses’ but as the weather was bad and he
had a severe cold he could do little field work, though spent many useful
hours studying mosses and hepatics in Taylor’s large herbarium.
In 1849, after Taylor’s death, Spruce went to London to supervise
the sale of his collection by auction. It was bought by a wealthy American
and his bryophytes are now in the Farlow Herbarium of Harvard University.
In the summer of 1844 the Collegiate School at York closed and Spruce
found himself without a job. He was determined to find employment as a
botanist, if possible abroad. His botanical friends who were well aware
of his great abilities, made various suggestions. Sir William Hooker proposed
that he should go on a collecting expedition to Spain, but enquiries indicated
that the country was so disturbed that travelling might be dangerous and
there would be difficulties in sending collections home. In the end Spruce,
attracted by their reputation as a good area for mosses, decided to go
to the French Pyrenees. He left England in May 1845 and returned in April
of the following year. He had collected over 300 species of higher plants
and numerous bryophytes, of which seventeen were new to science as well
as many not previously recorded from the Pyrenees. The proceeds of selling
exsiccatae were more than enough to repay a loan from William Borrer.
Moreover, a year of working mainly in the open air had much improved his
health and convinced him that his physical stamina was sufficient for
an arduous collecting expedition abroad.
He now set his face against returning to the teaching profession (or entering
the church, as one of his friends had suggested) and began to consider
seriously the possibility of botanical exploration of the Amazon. He was
encouraged to think this feasible by Sir William Hooker, then Director
of Kew and by the zoologists Bates and Wallace, both of whom set out on
collecting expeditions in South America in 1848. It was late in that year
that Spruce finally decided to follow them. During a few months making
preparations at Kew and the British Museum he met Robert Brown whose plant
descriptions he regarded as models. He left England in June 1849 and arrived
at Pará (now Belém) in July.
At Kew George Bentham had undertaken to sort the collections and make
up sets of exsiccatae on condition that Kew kept the first set. He also
promised to name all the previously described species and take a share
in the work on the others. When the first consignment of specimens arrived
Bentham and his assistant Professor Daniel Oliver were delighted both
with their quality and their great scientific interest. Oliver wrote to
‘Mr Spruce’s specimens were most carefully collected, dried
and packed, extraordinarily so, considering the difficulties of all kinds
with which he has had to contend; and what was of special value, they
were accompanied by beautifully legible labels giving precisely the information
as to locality, habitat, habit etc., required to supplement the dried
• ..The collections were specially rich in arborescent species,
the obtaining of which must often have been of considerable difficulty.’
Few of those who have collected plants in the tropics in recent times
have been able to equal the quality of Spruce’s Amazon collections.
After arriving at Belém Spruce spent some months working in the
neighbourhood. Fortunately some forests in the area have been preserved
and many of the species he collected can still be seen growing perhaps
in the exact localities where he found them nearly 150 years ago. In 1849
Spruce went further afield and mapped and collected in the basin of the
previously unexplored Rio Trombetas which joins the Amazon from the north
near Obidos. He spent July and August of the next year at Obidos and sailed
up to Manaus in October. In 1853-54 he explored and mapped the Rio Negro
and some of its tributaries which proved to be botanically one of the
most interesting parts of Amazonia, and went via the Casiquiare to the
In March-June 1855 he took ship from Manaus to Tarapoto in Peru. He then
explored some of the Amazon headwaters, the Huallaga, Pastasa and Bombonasa
rivers which were particularly difficult and dangerous to navigate. He
arrived at Quito in the Andes of Ecuador in 1857.
In 1860 the Government of India asked Spruce to collect seeds and living
plants of the Peruvian ‘Red Bark’ (Cinchona) because they
were concerned about the supply of quinine, which was essential for safeguarding
the health of the Indian army. Spruce was able to collect these in the
rain forest below the volcano Chimborazo. He took great trouble in packing
and despatching the material. It arrived safely and plantations were established
in the Nilgiri Hills and elsewhere in southern India. Unfortunately as
the plant is adapted to ever-wet rather than seasonally dry conditions,
these were not permanently successful and were later replaced by plantations
On 24 April, 1860, while at Ambato, Ecuador, Spruce had a stroke and awoke
to find himself partly paralysed in the neck, back and legs. ‘From
that day forth I was never more able to sit straight up or walk about
without great pain and discomfort. For a while he struggled on with his
collecting, but the following year he had another disaster: owing to the
failure of a business firm in Guayaquil in which they were deposited he
lost most of his savings. This left him almost destitute and he was obliged
to sell some of his books. After two more years on the coast of Ecuador
and a further period in Peru he found it impossible to work and decided
to return to England.
So ended his years of travel. It had been a heroic achievement. He had
survived all kinds of dangers, illnesses and privations; for long periods
he had worked alone except for Indian assistants. As well as collecting
over 7000 species of vascular plants and large numbers of bryophytes,
lichens and fungi, he had added enormously to scientific knowledge of
Amazonian botany. The high quality of the specimens he sent home and the
scrupulous care with which they were labelled and annotated was maintained
to the end. In Bentham’s opinion it was the greatest contribution
to tropical botany since the work of Humboldt half a century earlier.
Spruce’s contribution involved not only botany: he added much to
the ethnography of the Anierindians and his accurate mapping of little
known parts of Amazonia was recognized by his election as Honorary Member
of the Royal Geographical Society in 1866.
Spruce arrived in England in May 1864 almost penniless and in very poor
health — the effects of his stroke were not his only trouble. Luckily
he did not lack friends and some of them were influential. Thanks mainly
to the efforts of Clements Markham, secretary of the Royal Geographical
Society, he was awarded a civil list pension of £50 a year in 1864
and in 1877 this was supplemented by a further £50 from the Government
of India in recognition of his work on Cinchona. It was not until four
years after his return that the bowel trouble which had plagued him was
correctly diagnosed and after this his health somewhat improved, but until
the end of his life he had many afflictions to contend with. At one point
he decided that he would have to give up microscope work, but fortunately
he was able to return to it. Much of his writing had to be done in an
easy chair with a large book on his knees as a table — for this
reason many of his letters are written in pencil.
In order to concentrate on his large collection of hepatics Spruce decided
to entrust the working out of his mosses to William Mitten, instead of
dealing with them himself, as he would have preferred to do. Soon after
arriving in England he stayed with Mitten at Hurstpierpoint in Sussex
sorting out the moss collection and making up sets of his Musci Amazonicae
et Andinae for distribution (see Spruce 1860).
After 1864 Spruce published some twenty-seven papers, but not all were
on bryophytes. His most important non-bryological work was his classical
account of the palms of the Amazon (1870), but his greatest work, which
in the opinion of J.D. Hooker is his ‘crowning one and will ever
live’ is the Hepaticae Amazonicae et Andinae (1884-1885).
This was written under great difficulties. It appeared in the Transactions
of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in two parts. As the reader is informed
inside the cover of Part 1, Spruce had intended to include a short, mainly
geographical introduction, but this was never written. Plates I-VIII were
drawn by his friend Robert Braithwaite (author of The British Moss-Flora
1887-1905) and the rest by George Massee, the mycologist who was also
a friend of Spruce. This was probably because Spruce, though a good draughtsman
himself felt that after his stroke he was no longer able to make sufficiently
accurate drawings (see Richards, in preparation).
Spruce’s views on the classification of the Hepaticae had been earlier
set out in his papers on Anomoclada (1876) and Cephalozia
(1882). He had long since been sympathetic to Darwin’s views on
evolution. After revising his South American Plagiochilas he
wrote to Stabler (1871), ‘The result has been to make me more Darwinian
than ever’. He went on to say that if we had all the forms of a
genus which had ever existed, as well as those now existing, we could
not define a single species and ‘could trace the unbroken pedigree
of every form’.
After returning to Yorkshire he lived in lodgings at Welburn from 1867
to 1876 when he moved to the cottage in Coneysthorpe which now bears a
plaque in his memory. He never married and was cared for by a devoted
housekeeper and a girl attendant who acted as messenger. Stabler gives
a good idea of his personality. He was no narrow specialist. He loved
music and literature. He carried the works of Shakespeare with him on
his travels. He took a lively interest in life around him. When the Duke
of Argyll visited him at Coneysthorpe, they chatted for two hours on Spanish
and Russian politics as well as on natural history and the undulatory
theory of light. Even when ill and in pain he enjoyed a good joke and
made puns. He was very methodical and numbered his notes so that he could
instantly turn up a given topic. According to Wallace who had spent some
time with him in Amazonia, he was as orderly in his work in the forest
as in his cottage in Yorkshire. Above all he had a great capacity for
friendship, took much trouble to help colleagues, and was always kind
and sympathetic. He died of influenza in December 1893 and is buried beside
his parents in the churchyard at Terrington close to where he was born.
This sketch of Richard Spruce’s life and work is largely based on
Alfred Russell Wallace’s ‘Biographical introduction’
to Spruce’s Notes of a botanist on the Amazon and Andes (1908) and
Stabler’s obituary (1894). There are several other obituaries, but
Stabler’s is particularly valuable because he was a lifelong friend,
had been at school with Spruce at Glanthorpe and was also a bryologist.
It is strange that there is no full-length biography of such a remarkable
Braithwaite R (1887-1905). The British Moss-Flora. 3
vols. London: Reeve.
Richards, P.W. (in preparation). Two
unpublished letters from Spruce to Braithwaite about the illustrations
to Hepaticae Amazonicae et Andinae. Spruce Conference, York.
Sept. 1993. Linnean Society.
Spruce, R (1850). The mosses and hepaticae of the Pyrenees.
Trans. Proc. Bot. Soc. Edinb. 3: 103-216.
Spruce, R. (1860 [’1861’]). Mosses of the
Amazon and Andes. J. Linn. Soc. (Bot.) 5: 45-51.
Spruce, R (1876). On Anomoclada, a new genus of Hepaticae,
and its allied genera Odontoschisma and Adelanthus. J. Bot. 14: 129-136,
161-170, 193-203, 230-235.
Spruce, R. (1882). On Cephalozia, its subgenera and allied
genera. Privately printed, Malton, Yorks.
Spruce, R (1884-85). Hepaticae Amazonicae et Andinae.
Trans. Proc. Bot. Soc. Edinb. 15:
i-xi, 1-590, pls. l-XXII.
Spruce, R (1908). Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and
Andes (ed. and condensed by Alfred Russell Wallace, with a biographical
introduction). 2 vols. London: Macmillan.
Stabler, G. (1894). Obituary notice of Richard Spruce,
Ph.D. Trans. Proc. Bot. Soc. Edinb., 20, Session LVIII, Feb.1894.
Sources of further information
Desmond, R(1977). Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists
and Horticulturists. London:
Taylor & Francis.
Gillispie, C.C. (ed) (1975). Dictionary of Scientific
Biography. New York: Scribners.
Seaward, M.RD. (1980). Two letters of bryological interest
from Richard Spruce to David Moore. Naturalist 105: 29-33.
• Dr S.R. EDWARDS (University of Manchester): ‘Spruce
The substantial holdings of Richard Spruce (1817-1893) material, at Manchester
Museum Herbarium (MANCH), seem to have been one of the best kept secrets
about this remarkable Yorkshireman who died one hundred years ago. Not
only do we have Spruce’s own large personal herbarium, plus (and
including) sets of his Hepaticae Spruceanae: Amazonicae et Andinae,
his Musci Amazonici et Andini, and substantial lichen collections,
but we also have a collection of his letters and maps and other documents
which may interest Spruceologists more than bryologists. These all total
about 1 6,500 items.
The Spruce material came to Manchester mostly in 1919, nearly 26 years
after his death. Matthew Slater was Spruce’s botanical executor
and he had inherited Spruce’s massive personal herbarium; when Slater
died, it was W.H. Pearson who ultimately effected the transfer to Manchester
The large Spruce collections at Manchester Museum number over 16,500 items,
his own personal herbarium of liverworts: 8,264
additional liverworts such as distributed sets:~ 700
his own personal herbarium of mosses:5,000
additional mosses in distributed set:289
his own personal herbarium of lichens:2,000
documentation such as letters and maps:~ 300
The liverworts, which form the bulk of the Spruce material, are largely
from Spruce’s fifteen years in South America (June 1849 to June
1864), but also from his year in the Pyrenees (April 1845 to April 1846)
and from elsewhere, and also include specimens collected by others. The
mosses are more or less equally divided between British and non-British
collections, and the lichens are mostly from the Pyrenees. There are also
a few flowering plants and ferns. The letters to Slater in effect form
a diary of Spruce’s last thirteen years; Slater was Spruce’s
friend, factotum and confidant, and the letters make fascinating reading,
both from a social and historical standpoint, and also for any bryologist
interested in perceptive and detailed observations by one of the world’s
greatest hepaticologists. The maps include hand-drawn examples by Spruce,
including a finely detailed map of the River Trombetas, with compass bearings
and lines of latitude and longitude. It appears to have been drawn by
Spruce from first principles. The caption explains how five points were
fixed by astronomical observation and the remainder by compass bearings,
and how he ascended the river in 1849.
The following data give an indication of the significance of the Spruce
liverwort collections at Manchester Museum:
2,000,000 estimate of total plant collections;
34,346 total liverworts;
8,971 all Spruce liverworts (including personal herbarium and Hepaticae
924 Spruce liverworts designated TYPE (including holotypes, isotypes,
lectotypes, isotypes, n. sp., sp. n., etc.); about 200 further packets
have been designated TYPE, etc. since data were input to the database,
although there may be some overlap;
8,264 Spruce’s personal herbarium accessed in 1919.
We know these figures because comprehensive data from all of our liverwort
collections (as well as from our Foreign Flowering Plants, etc.) are on
a computer database. The database had only been available for editing
and manipulation for about three weeks before the B.B.S. Autumn meeting
at Ripon in September 1993; improved search criteria applied since then
have revealed over double the number of Spruce specimens mentioned at
This report of the Ripon lecture has been substantially updated in light
of subsequent work on the Manchester material. A comprehensive account
is given in the chapter: Spruce in Manchester: Manchester Museum Herbarium
(with an Appendix on Manchester City Library by Professor Brian W. Fox),
in the forthcoming volume Richard Spruce (1817 - 1893), Botanist and Explorer,
to be edited by Prof. M.R.D. Seaward and published jointly by the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Linnean Society.
• Mr A.R. PERRY (National Museum of Wales): ‘The early
embryology of the British Bryological Society.’
Before the foundation of the Moss Exchange Club in 1896, several important
bryological books were published in Britain. Notable among these were
Dillenius’ Historia Muscorum of 1741, Turner’s Muscologiae
Hibernicae Spicilegium of 1804, Hooker’s British Jungermanniae
(1816), and Hooker & Taylor’s Muscologia Britannica
of 1818, 2nd edition 1827 with Wilson’s revision of 1855. In addition
there were several, more popular, publications which gave impetus to the
study of mosses, for example Stark’s A Popular History of British
Mosses (1854), Berkeley’s Handbook of British Mosses
(1863, 2nd ed. 1895), Tripp’s British Mosses... (1865,
2nd ed. 1888), Hobkirk’s A Synopsis of the British Mosses (1873)
and Fry’s British Mosses (1892). The liverworts fared rather
Cooke’s Easy Guide to the Study of British Hepaticae...
(1865), Carrington’s British Hepaticae... (1874-75) and
Cooke’s Handbook of British Hepaticae ( ‘1894’)
were all that were easily available to the aspiring hepaticologist in
the latter half of the last century, and Carrington’s work, the
best of the lot, was never completed because of illness. Besides these,
a few specimen books were available during the century: for the mosses
Flintoft’s Specimens of British Mosses in the English Lake District
(Ca. 1830), George Gardner’s Musci Britannici, or Pocket
Herbarium of British Mosses (1836) and William Gardiner’s Twenty
Lessons on British Mosses (1844, 1846), second series (1849); for
the hepatics Mclvor’s Hepaticae Britannicae, or Pocket Herbarium
of British Hepaticae... (1848). But as the century drew to a close
a stimulus was required to get the ailing subject back to good health.
The Revd C.H. Waddell, Rector of Saintfield and (later) Grey Abbey, Co.
Down, realizing the lack of progress in bryology, placed an advertisement
in the Journal of Botany in 1896. Headed ‘EXCHANGE CLUB FOR MOSSES
AND HEPATICAE’ it starts: ‘While much has been done for the
study of phanerogams by means of clubs for exchanging, recording, and
naming specimens, I believe the want of such a society for mosses hinders
the advance of bryology. If one could be established ... it would prove
of great assistance to beginners...’ Offers of support from a number
of friends had already been received, and he thought that at least thirty
active members would be required to make such a society successful. There
was an immediate response from H.N. Dixon (whose The Student’s Handbook
of British Mosses was published the same year) by letter to the Journal
of Botany. Dixon thought an Exchange Club would serve a very useful purpose,
but was concerned that it might tend towards the extermination of our
rare species. In reply, Waddell said the following rule had been drawn
up for the Moss Exchange Club: ‘Great care should be taken not to
injure or exterminate any rare or local species. If a plant only occurs
sparingly, not more than one or two specimens should be taken ... Localities
near towns or where there is any danger of a rare species being exterminated
should not be too definitely published’ — a rule that we still
Twenty-three members enrolled in 1896 having paid the annual subscription
of one shilling, and Waddell acted as Secretary, Treasurer and Distributor
of specimens that were submitted. Some of the new members who joined are
well-known names: besides Waddell and Dixon there were W.E. Nicholson,
S.M. Macvicar, W. lngham and Miss E. Armitage all with considerable biyological
knowledge and eventually leaving their undoubted mark on British bryology.
Waddell published his Annual Reports in the Moss Exchange Club Annual
Reports (1896-1922). In his Report for 1897, one year after the Club’s
formation, he wrote:
‘During the past Winter and Spring many enquiries have been received
as to the work of the Club & copies of Rules sent out which has involved
much correspondence, and a large expenditure on postage. ... Other enquirers
have not seen their way to join us for two reasons 1st the majority being
beginners & not having any stock for exchange or considering that
the Club would not be of much help to them in naming their finds prefer
to wait till they have made further advance in the study. 2nd Some residing
outside the British Isles find that the Society offers no opportunity
for the exchange of foreign or continental plants.’
Waddell suggested the formation of three lists of names, 1) those who
wished to exchange British for non-British mosses, 2) a list of helpers
who would assist beginners, and 3) a list of those wishing to receive
help in naming their plants. Later in the same Notebook he reported that
Dixon had sent him some ‘Notes on Mosses’ that had been sent
to him in the Exchange and had made a suggestion (which Waddell proposed
to carry out) that these notes should be circulated to all members who
were to be invited to add notes and criticisms and to ask questions either
on the plants sent them or generally on any matter of real interest to
the Club. Waddell continued: ‘Of course each note must be signed;
and I hope the experiment of the “Note Book” may prove a success.
It will go on a short circuit of about 6 and then back to me; first to
the largest and most important contributors also taking locality into
consideration.’ Thus were born the Circulating Notebooks in which
members could read comments about the specimens that had been submitted
Evidence for the immediate success of the Club is that in 1897 Waddell
reported that 24 members had contributed 2163 Mosses and 104 Hepatics
... as well as 28 plants sent in to be named, 2295 in all.
It is interesting to examine the list of helpers that emerged from Waddell’s
request. There were seven; six of them, including Dixon and Nicholson,
said they would be willing to help with ‘mosses only’. Miss
Armitage, the seventh, said ‘mosses & hepatics, not critical’.
It is clear from these responses that hepatics had been little studied
and were consequently very scantily known — a inevitable reflection
of the inadequate literature that had been published up to that date.
Pearson’s two volume work The Hepaticae of the British Isles
(1899-1902), which should have stimulated the study of hepatics was
produced at such an exorbitant price ( £11.2s.6d with coloured plates;
£7. l0s.0d uncoloured) that it was put beyond the pockets of most
people (the equivalent in today’s prices for 11 gold sovereigns
is something in the region of £750!); and it was not until Macvicar’s
timely and brilliant The Student’s Handbook of British Hepatics
was published in 1912 at 18s.6d. that hepaticology in the British Isles
Meanwhile the circulating notebooks became a platform from which members
could air their views on various bryological topics. Waddell, always helpful,
advised strongly and kindly on the quality of the specimens sent in, and
there followed a lively debate on labelling, folding of packets, and the
formation of a personal herbarium, with many correspondents sending in
descriptions of the way they prepared packets, labelled and stored them.
Revd S. Gasking finally drew the arguments together in a wry comment ‘We
all have our different ideas ... & we will stick to our own methods
notwithstanding this controversy.’
In 1897 E.C. Horrell, though not yet a member, wrote to Waddell telling
him that he had started compiling ‘as exhaustive, a list as I can
of the existing lists of the Mosses found in the 112 [ vice-counties’,
and inviting help. This led to the eventual production of the first editions
of the Census Catalogues of Hepatics in 1905 and Mosses in 1907 of the
whole of the British Isles, oddly with the hepatic catalogue preceding
the one for mosses. Horrell also became involved with helping beginners
by setting up a Junior Section. Waddell reported in the 1900 Notebook
that this was ‘doing well & Mr Horrell has enrolled over 30
members’. This Section came to have its own Annual Report, but on
a smaller scale than its parent.
The Notebook for 1901 was 87 pages long and the various controversies
and discussions continued; but not for long. The circulating Notebooks
ended after 1903 when Waddell decided that the Club was flourishing well
enough and he needed a rest from the arduous circulation that he had nobly
instigated and the onerous duties of Secretary, Treasurer and Distributor.
The Annual Reports carried on, however, and continued to have succinct
versions of the notes on specimens submitted but hardly any other material;
they were circulated to all members from 1896 to 1922.
The circulating Notebooks had been an important mouthpiece for those developing
interests in bryology, an outlet where ideas and problems had been put
forward, mulled over, spat out and reconstituted. Their demise heralded
the formalization of British Bryology which was now on a firm basis, with
the Moss Exchange Club having among its membership many members rapidly
gaining confidence in bryology. The Club and its Junior Section continued
to flourish until 1923 when the two amalgamated to form the British Bryological
Society that we know today.
• Mr. R. STEVENSON (Kings Lynn): ‘An amateur in the
A selection of holiday slides was used to illustrate the basic concept
that, for many amateurs, the best opportunities for getting to, and collecting
in, the tropics are on package holidays arranged by so called ‘Adventure
Holiday’ companies (e.g. Explore; Exodus; Guerba). Through these
companies one can travel to places which are relatively off the beaten
track, and which are certainly likely to be bryologically underworked.
Most of these holidays involve rather a lot of travelling, often using
a variety of means of transport. Space is often at a premium, so luggage
needs to be minimized, in order to maximize space for collections. Collecting
also has to be done swiftly and efficiently, since suitable opportunities
are often rather brief, e.g. lunch stops by roadsides.
In order to cut costs many of these trips involve group members in helping
out with various tasks, such as food preparation, luggage loading, shopping,
etc. Some thought needs to be given to which tasks to volunteer for: gathering
firewood, for instance, offers opportunities for bryologizing which scraping
potatoes does not.
Basic equipment used is the same as at home, though collecting packets
need to be strong where there is any great danger of heavy rain or persistent
damp. A string bag is useful for suspending specimens in, to dry out.
A major problem is always locating oneself: maps should be bought beforehand
if possible (e.g. from Stanford’s). (A useful tip is to take a colour
photocopy of those bits of the map which are going to be most used, and
then laminating them with plastic, for use in the field.) A watch with
a built-in altimeter is a useful tool in places where maps are inadequate.
The tropics encompass more than just rain forests, or montane areas, and
it was suggested that collecting in the less obviously exciting dry, or
urban and suburban areas, might be where amateurs are likely to make the
most useful contributions.
• Dr Harold WHITEHOUSE (University of Cambridge): ‘A
presentation of stereoscopic bryophyte photographs.’
• Prof. B. CRANDALL-STOTLER (Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale): ‘Apical organization, gametophyte ontogeny and phylogenetic
implications in the moss Fissidens.’
Fissidens differs from the vast majority of mosses in possessing
uniquely constructed 3-parted leaves that are, at least in part, vertically
inserted upon the stem in a distichous arrangement. Early anatomical studies
of Lorentz (1864) and Leitgeb (1874) demonstrated that these characters
are correlated with a distinctive type of apical organization that centres
around a lenticular apical cell with two segmenting surfaces. These authors
also both described the early stages of leaf development, but their interpretations
of ontogeny differed. Various authors since have provided contrasting
views regarding the phylogenetic significance of these characters, but
without clarifying the morphogenetic patterns involved. Using a combination
of serial paraffin sectioning and SEM techniques, this reinvestigation
was consequently undertaken.
In protonemally formed buds and young branches of F. taxifolius,
the apical cell is initially obovoidal and spirally segmenting, just as
it is in other mosses. Divergence angles between the first formed derivatives
are 137°, but this angle is quickly increased so that after two complete
spirals of segmentation, a 1800 divergence angle and lenticular apical
cell geometry are established. In contrast to other mosses, the division
wall that separates the derivative from the apical cell is deposited parallel
to the segmenting wall of the apical cell, rather than at an oblique angle
to it. As a consequence, the free surface of the derivative is symmetrical
in outline and the derivative lacks the anodiclcathodic polarization that
characterizes the asymmetric derivatives of other taxa.
As in other mosses, two divisions, the first periclinal and the second
anticlinal, generate a single leaf initial from each derivative. Two sequential
oblique divisions in this initial then form the leaf apical cell with
two segmenting surfaces. In most species of Fissidens, the first
of these divisions extends towards the dorsal surface of the transversely
inserted initial so that the first formed basal segment is dorsal in position.
In mosses with spirally segmenting apical cells, the same cell is always
anodic so that it is dorsal on one side of the stem and ventral on the
other (Berthier, 1973).
After the 3-celled stage, the mitotic spindle rotates towards the ventral
side of the stem, causing the next dorsally positioned cell to be slightly
displaced from the transverse plane. This gradual rotation of the spindle
continues through the next three division cycles of the leaf apical cell
so that by the 7-celled stage the leaf apical cell is reoriented at a
90° angle and is segmenting cells in a horizontal rather than a dorsi-ventral
plane. The vaginant lamina is produced from the original basal cells,
with the dorsal lesser lamina of the vaginant lamina emanating from divisions
in the first formed basal cell. The vertically oriented superior and inferior
laminae develop from the reoriented segments. These observations are in
complete accord with the interpretations of Leitgeb (1874) and suggest
that the unique form of the Fissidens leaf is controlled by modified
patterns of spindle orientation. These patterns can be altered by the
addition of hydroxy-1-proline which, when supplied at 10-6M concentration,
inhibits the production of the superior and inferior laminae, and kinetin,
which at 10-5M concentration, increases the size of the lesser vaginant
Studies currently in progress on F. asplenioides, a species which
forms the lesser vaginant lamina dorsally on one side of the stem and
ventrally on the other, suggest that primitive species of Fissidens
may possess apical organizations that are intermediate between those
typical mosses and the lenticular system of most Fissidens species,
and support the hypothesis that Fissidens is an ontogenetically
more complex, phylogenetically derived, taxon.
Berthier, J. (1973). Recherches sur Ia structure et le
développement de l’apex du gamétophytes feuillé
des mousses. Rev. Bryol. Lichénol. 38:
Leitgeb, H. (1874). Zur Kenntnis des Wachshums von Fissidens.
Denkschr. Kaiser!. Alcad. Wiss., Wien. Math. -Naturwiss. Kl. 69:
Lorentz, P.G. (1864). Studien fiber Bau und Entwicklungsgeschichte
der Laubmoose, pp. 1-36 + 4 p1. In PG. Lorentz (ed), Moosstudien.
• Dr Philip E. STANLEY (Cambridge): ‘The cumulative
index to BBS publications.’
The British Bryological Society and its predecessor the Moss Exchange
Club have recorded their activities in the Moss Exchange Club Reports
(1896-1922), Reports of the British Bryological Society (1923-1945),
Transactions of the British Bryological Society (1947-1971),
Journal of Bryology (1972-present) and the Bulletin of the
British Bryological Society (1963-present). There have also been
other occasional publications including volumes containing the proceedings
from meetings held in conjunction with other societies.
Although indexes have appeared for each volume of the Transactions
and the Journal, there has not been a cumulative index embracing
all of the Society’s publications and some years ago I agreed to
prepare such an index. A short note was published (Stanley, PB. (1992).
Cumulative index to BBS. publications. Bull. brit. Bryol. Soc.
59: 3 1-32) recently which outlined the status of the
project. Since then I have reworked the entries to reflect suggested revisions
both in style and items for inclusion. Further, the proceedings of meetings
held in conjunction with other societies have now been included.
A draft of the index was exhibited at the conversazione held in conjunction
with the AGM in 1992 and members saw that its format is similar to that
used in the Journal, namely short phrases or at least several
words. Thus it differs from some other indexes in which entries consist
of a single or at most a few words. The index includes group headings
such as Floras and Checklists, Keys to Genera and Species, Species
New to the British Isles, Reports of Meetings (separate lists by
date, place and kind, e.g. AGM), Membership Lists. It is hoped
these will assist the user in locating useful information. In the main,
no attempt has been made to cross reference taxonomic synonyms and if
a paper refers to Hypnum cuspidatum it will be cited under that
name and not under Acrocladium cuspidatum or Calliergon cuspidatum
or Calliergonella cuspidata.
The inclusion of citations is now finished and they are now in a pseudo-alphabetic
sequence as far as the computer is concerned. There remains the not inconsiderable
task of editing these entries to produce a formal index. This will be
published from camera-ready material which will avoid the need for a second
proof-reading. Each member will receive a copy which will have a page
size similar to recent issues of the Journal.