Thursday, 29 October 2015

Learning to love the Sphagnales

Three Sphagna from two sites and three sections gave an opportunity to get out the books and learn to love Sphagnum. Not quite there yet, but they are kind of attractive and they can't be that difficult, can they?

The BBS field guide operates on four groups, which Smith says there could be 11 and Frey says the molecular data supports not more than 4. In terms of field ID though as long as the groupings get you to a species I don't mind arguing about the rest later.

Now I've started to get a feel for them I'll have to seek out some more to play with

S.palustre - section Sphagnum
Hooded branch leaves get you into the section and it's a pretty closed group. It also has a fat stem cortex but you don't necessarily need to see that. S.palustre is a common one and a big blousy affair, with fat branches and of course hooded leaves. This one was picked up in woodland and with pretty catholic tastes this seems like the most likely one to find in that environment. The capiltula is darker than the surrounding branches.

S.capillifolium - section Acutifolia
This section has a rosy pin-red tint (pigment anthocyanin) which is detectable with alkaline. I applied some KOH to the leaves to get a blue reaction here. A slender species with a red stem, S.capillifolium also has the centre of the capitulum a deep red and deeper than its edges. A paler centre sends you in another direction.

S.denticulatum - section Subsecunda
This is the section of bendy branches, and in this case at least a bendy capitulum too. denticulatum is a common bog moss and likes ditches. Once you get into the section by the manifest bendiness of it all (English name "cow horn bog moss"!) this species is separated from its buddies by having particularly pointed (lanceolate) branch leaves.

Sphagnum: A Field Guide, Hill, M.O.
Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: A Field Guide, Atherton,D.M & Bosanquet,S.D.S.
The Liverworts, Mosses and Ferns of Europe Frey,W & Frahm,J-P (trans. T.Blockeel)
The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland, Smith,A. J. E. & Smith,R

Monday, 26 October 2015

Eildon Hills, 11th Oct 2015

A good number of people gathered at the foot of the the hills to gradually make the ascent and tick off bryophytes along the way ... and lichens ... and fungi ... and ...

Highlights of the day for me were a couple of new things, only one of which I have bad photographs yet- the lovely wine-red Frullania fragilifolia, or "Spotty Fingers", and the nearby but as-yet-unphotographed Grimmia rammondii, with its dark lines running along a buttressed costa.

With a broad group including notable lichenologists there were always going to be distractions, especially for those of us who are easily distracted. As usual pictures in sections by subject matter

People and place

A gathered group

The ascent

In the above pic can be seen a large pool and on the left on the same level an interesting flush which contained among other interesting things the calcicole (if I caught that right) Sphagnum subnitens. It also contained some nice insects including Spiny Shieldbug and Hierogplyphic ladybird.

The bryophytes 
Not so many bryophyte pics (I was working with my phone since camera packed up), but a nice mosaic and this shaky one of the Frullania can be added to later from my collection box which is awaiting processing. Riccardia multifida was found here and a fair bit of Nardia scalaris tucked in here and there. I remember Barbilophozia hathcheri also showed up at lunch.

Frullania fragilifolia

Riccardia multifia

A lot more going on even in this pic but Ramalina siliquosa was splendid at our lunch spot, where this Sphaeroporus globosus was also found. Lecanora pulicaris was one of many picked from the fence top on the path up

Ramalina siliquosa
Sphaeroporus globosus

Lecanora pulicaris

Non-lichenised fungi

A puffball whose ID was subject of some discussion

.. and a Cystoderma, probably amianthinum

A nice bee from the flush pictured above, this is the Field Cuckoo Bee, Bombus campestris