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Meetings of the BBS - 1993


Spring 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) for mosses.


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 shower.

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.



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.


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 wall.

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 crevices.

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.


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.


Roc’h Trévézel

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.


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 elsewhere.

Corley, M.F.V. & Crundwell, A.C. (1991). Additions and amendments to the mosses of Europe and the Azores. J. Bryol. 16: 337-356.
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: 609-689.
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.


Summer 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 habitats.

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.

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.

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.

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 & 29.

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 & 6.

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 & 6.

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.

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 & 32.

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.

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 unlikely.

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.


Annual 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, the man.’
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 Wallace:
‘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 specimens.
• ..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 upper Orinoco.

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 in Java.
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 man.

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 in Manchester.’
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 Museum.
The large Spruce collections at Manchester Museum number over 16,500 items, consisting of:

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 Spruceanae);
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 that time.
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 less well:
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 observe.
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 for exchange.

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 took off.

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 tropics.’
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 lamina.
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 of
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: 421-551.
Leitgeb, H. (1874). Zur Kenntnis des Wachshums von Fissidens. Denkschr. Kaiser!. Alcad. Wiss., Wien. Math. -Naturwiss. Kl. 69: 47-69.
Lorentz, P.G. (1864). Studien fiber Bau und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Laubmoose, pp. 1-36 + 4 p1. In PG. Lorentz (ed), Moosstudien. Leipzig: Engelmann.

• 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.

The field excursion on Sunday 19 September was to Hackfall near the village of Grewelthorpe about 6 miles NW of Ripon. Hackfall is a semi-natural deciduous wood on the steep banks of the R. Ure. In recent years, however, it has suffered extensive loss of elm trees and parts of it are therefore more open than presumably they were previously. The wood is owned by the Woodland Trust, to whom we are indebted for information and access. The diversity of habitats within the wood and on the river banks ensured a rich flora and over 140 species were recorded on the day.

The underlying rock is Millstone Grit and there are low crags in the higher parts of the wood. The more acidic of these produced small quantities of Bazzania trilobata, Barbilophozia attenuata and Cephalozia lunulifolia but in other places there was evidence of slight base enrichment, with such species as Eucladium verticillatum and Leiocolea turbinata. Grit boulders and stones occurred in various places at lower levels throughout the wood and these produced Jungermannia pumila, Hygrobiella laxiflora, Scapania umbrosa, S. nemorea, Blindia acuta and Heterocladium heteropterum (some of these only in very small quantity).

The gully formed by the stream flowing through the centre of the wood was obstructed by logs and much overgrown but produced some additional species, including Metzgeria conjugata and Fissidens crassipes. There were fine patches of Hookeria lucens c.spor. in various places on the woodland floor and Nowellia curvifolia on rotten wood. Plagiothecium laetum and Plagiochila britannica were also reported.

A notable feature of the wood is the presence of a number of calcareous springs, often with abundant Cratoneuron commutatum. Some of these have extensive masses of tufa, on which the Eucladium and Leiocolea were plentiful, along with Jungermannia atrovirens and a little Tortella tortuosa. Rhynchostegiella teesdalei was found on wet grit rocks in a runnel where the water was probably calcareous.

The epiphytic flora was not very rich, although there were some fine tufts of Dicranum montanum on sycamore and other tree boles. Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. temperata, Zygodon conoideus and Orthotrichum pulchellum were also recorded.

The R. Ure has a marked flood zone and its banks had well developed communities of riparian bryophytes. Dichodontium flavescens, Fissidens rufulus, Barbula nicholsonii, B. spadicea, Oxystegus sinuosus and Schistidium alpicola were mainly confined to boulders, while Porella cordaeana, Radula complanata and Leskea polycarpa occurred about tree bases. Other species, such as Homalia trichomanoides, were indifferent to substrate. Also on riverside rocks, and presumably benefiting from the calcareous river water, were Anomodon viticulosus, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei and Jungermannia atrovirens. Willow bushes on a small island in the river, and therefore well illuminated, produced Orthotrichum rivulare and fittingly, on the anniversary of the great man’s death, a little O. sprucei. The latter was also reported from alder.



Bryophyte Workshop 1993

University of Reading, 20-21 November

Twenty members attended the annual taxonomic workshop held this year at the University of Reading on the weekend of 20-21 November for an introduction to the sexuality of bryophytes. We were extremely fortunate to have Prof. Jeff Duckett and Dr Royce Longton as our tutors.

Saturday was spent in the field and we met at Snelsmore Common, a local SSSI, on a cold and frosty morning (Michael Fletcher wore boots so it had to be well below freezing point!). Common bryophytes were collected from the heathland to study in the laboratory the following day. This site has a nice valley bog and male plants of Sphagnum capillifolium and S. palustre were seen. A Cephaloziella was collected for the more ambitious to play with. At midday the temperature began to rise (Michael removed his boots) and we headed back to the car-park where we were confronted by about two hundred leather-clad motor cyclists holding their own taxonomic weekend.

Royce had arranged for us to have lunch at a local pub where we were able to warm up, and in the afternoon we travelled to Redhill Wood (SSSI) to collect common woodland bryophytes.

Sunday we spent in the laboratory; Royce and Jeff began by explaining the differences between the various positions in which antheridia and archegonia are found, and then the previous day’s collections were examined. Royce went on to demonstrate the paroecious Pohlia nutans while Jeff convinced us that we had collected Cephaloziella hampeana (autoecious). The antheridia were dissected from the Sphagnum species and under the high power of the microscope the biflagellate antherozooids (sperms) were seen to be swimming in the water under the cover slip. We also looked at gemmae on the protonemata of Orthodontium lineare and on Dicranum tauricum. Some of us had brought our own collections. These were identified and it was noted whether they were dioecious or monoecious, etc.

This was a superbly informative weekend for professional and amateur alike and our thanks to Royce for organizing such a splendid workshop.


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