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Vice-county 11

South Hampshire


BBS Vice-county recorder:

John Norton,
215 Forton Road,
Hampshire PO12 3HB 
tel. 02392 520828

Who also maintains a Hampshire Bryophytes web site


Accounts of previous meetings in the County:

Click on the links below for the meeting reports:


Bryology of South Hampshire

The botanical vice-county 11 South Hampshire contains a great diversity of habitats. About one-third is on chalk with extensive arable land and some downland; parts of this area are covered by clay-with-flints with neutral or mildly acid soils. The remainder is on Tertiaries with neutral or acid soils, much of the agricultural land being permanent pasture; there are extensive woodlands and a large part is built up in the conurbations of Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth, (these now being unitary local authorities);other large urban areas are Havant, Fareham and Winchester. Lying between Southampton and Bournemouth are the extensive areas of heathland, bog and woodland in the New Forest, an area of great importance for wildlife conservation as well as for recreation and tourism.

The Bryology of South Hampshire is relatively well known, with several bryologists collecting and recording in the 19th century (starting in 1812), and many more in the first half of the 20th century. In 1952, Jean Paton (at that time living in Southampton) started collecting in v.-c.11, and between 1957 and 1960 carried out intensive recording resulting in the publication in 1961 of A Bryophyte Flora of South Hants (Transactions of the British Bryological Society (4) 1-83). This excellent work is based on 10km squares, which are listed for each of the 416 taxa, with, in many cases, details of the localities.

Following publication of this Flora, much further recording work was done by Francis Rose, E.C.Wallace, Rod Stern, Neil Sanderson, Alison Bolton and a few others. This has resulted in over 60 additional taxa for the vice-county.

The New Forest has the greatest variety of mosses and liverworts with several species not recorded or very rare elsewhere in lowland England. Some of the bog species are Sphagnum magellanicum, (which is common), S.teres, S.molle, Splachnum ampullaceum, Riccardia latifrons, Cladopediella fluitans and C.francisci. The old oak and beech trees, which are of great importance for lichens, have epiphyte species such as Pterogonium gracile, Frullania fragilifolia, Zygodon rupestris and (one of Britain’s rarest mosses) Z.forsteri. On banks and tree roots by the picturesque streams are Lejeunea lamacerina, Brachythecium plumosum and Hyocomium armoricum.

Away from the New Forest are other areas of bog and heathland, as well as much forest and woodland with epiphytes such as the less common Orthotrichum species stramineum, tenellum and pulchellum. Tortella flavovirens, Tortula viridifolia and Hennediella heimii an be found in a few places by the coast including the estuaries of Southampton Water, Portsmouth Harbour and Langstone Harbour.

The chalk grasslands such as Butser Hill, Old Winchester Hill and Houghton Down have local species such as Thuidium abietinum subsp. hystricosum, Weissia condensa, Porella aboris-vitae and Scapania aspera.

Rod Stern

Local Floras

CRUNDWELL, A.C. & ROSE, F. (1996). The bryophyte flora. In: The flora of Hampshire, eds Brewis, A., Bowman, P. & Rose, F., pp. 325-341. Colchester: Harley Books.

PATON, J.A. (1961). A bryophyte flora of S. Hants. Transactions of the British Bryological Society, 4, 1-83.

STERN, R.C. (2010). A Bryophyte Flora of South Hampshire. Published by Pisces Publications. ISBN No. 978-1-874357-41-4. £9.95


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