Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Few Mosses Found in Stainland.

Hello Everybody.

It has been a while since I posted a full article on this blog. I won't go into detail, let's just say that day-to-day life got in my way. However, here I am once more.

I've very slowly been developing an interest in Bryophytes, (mosses and Liverworts) and Lichens. Actually, I've been interested in lichens for about 30 years, after seeing my first Caledonia species flowering. I got a reasonable photo of it, but didn't pursue matters at the time.

FEET (Freshwater Environmental Ecology Trust) has given me the opportunity to develop that interest. Over the last couple of months, I've been buying books on Bryophytes and Lichens, trying to teach myself about them. Below are the first results of what Colin (FEET director) described as, "The Stainland School of Bryos", which I rather liked. As he said, I couldn't have picked two more difficult species to get interested in. Well, I like a challenge.

All I'm going to do for the moment, is post my finds, along with the names of those I think I've identified correctly. If I'm uncertain, or have no idea, I'll add TBC (To Be Confirmed) under the photo.

I decided not to put a lot of text with these entries, as I'm not completely sure about some of them. More importantly, in the few books I have, the information is technical, to do with the size, appearance and habitat of them. I will say that all the photos were found in the village and in the woodland area.

I'm not 100% sure of this, but am reasonably certain I got it right. I'll correct the name(s) when I get a positive ID.

Bank Haircap Moss - 
Polytrichum formosum TBC

Capillary thread-moss - 
Bryum capillare 

Capillary thread-moss,
still with it's Calyptra attached 
(the cover over the seed capsule) 

Capillary thread-moss capsule, 
ready to give up it's seeds.

I'm not sure about this, there are several feather mosses, I'm not very good with them yet. So here goes...

Common Feather-moss - 
Kindbergia praelonga TBC

I'd love to be right about this one. I took the photo and when I put it on the computer, I saw the fruiting bodies (seed-capsules) had a "fancy" shape a little like an umbrella round them. I searched my books and the Internet, until I found one like my specimen. Some photos showed them more advanced, they were lovely! I decided to go back to the tree I found this one a week later, to see if they had ripened. The photo is below. I think they are so nice looking. Anne said they were amazing and it was a shame most people would never see them. I agree. I'm going back again in a few days, to see what they look like then.

Elegant Bristle-moss - 
Orthotrichum pulchellum  

Elegant Bristle-moss

Elegant Bristle-moss ripening

I'm as sure as I can be without any help, that I got this next one right. I believe it is Grey-cushioned Grimmia, It is a grimmia for sure. I think it has to be the easiest moss it ID. It hides it seed capsules among the leaves and has grey hairs on the outside, (it looks like a cushion and is the commonest grimmia in Britain.

Grey-cushioned Grimmia 
Grimmia pulvinata

Grey Cushioned Grimmia
(note the seed capsules nestled 
among the leaves)

My friend Colin set me right on the ID of this next one, so I'm updating the entry.  (20th March 2016). 

It is the Cypress-leaved Plait-moss Hypnum cupressiforme. It is is one of the most common mosses being widespread and abundant.
Note the finely pointed leaves curling underneath the plant. I found another photo of it on my camera, (next image below) it shows the leaf structure quite clearly.

Cypress-leaved Plait-moss 
Hypnum cupressiforme

Cypress-leaved Plait-moss

Cypress-leaved Plait-moss 
showing the curled leaf tips

All these mosses are common in Britain, but when I go for a walk, the next one seems to be on the top of almost every wall I see. It's the Wall Screw-moss - Tortula Musralis. At least, I'm a sure as I can be that this it what it is.

Wall Screw-moss - 
Tortula Musralis  

Wall Screw-moss - 
Seed capsule detail

Several mosses have semi-transparent leaves. For some reason, I didn't expect to find any like that, but this one does. You can see it in the photo below, if you look carefully. One or two photos on the Internet show this more clearly. It's the Swan's Neck Thyme-moss Mnium hornum.

Swan's Neck Thyme-moss 
Mnium hornum

That is the end of my first look at mosses. I hope you found it as interesting as I did. When I started looking at them, I assumed they would all turn out to be "just green things". I've been surprised at the variety among them. Not just in form, although many are intricate, delicate and quite beautiful, It's the range of colours too. Some grow on stone, others on the ground, or trees. Some grow on trees and stone. nature is diverse and wonderful. 

Oh, yes, if any of you want to start looking at mosses, even in a casual way, I'd recommend a 23x or 30x hand lens. They are very cheap on eBay and Amazon. I got a 30x from China in a nice case for about £3 including postage. (UK price).

Until the next time,
have fun

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Gordon. I am into plants, mainly herbs, in fact I make my own medicine. About the only herb moss I know of would be Chondrus crispus. We have two varieties of moss that grow in my yard but not sure what species they are. If you are interested I'll take a photo and email it to you.