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BRYOPHYTES IN SUFFOLK 2012

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BRYOPHYTES IN SUFFOLK 2012

R. J. FISK It is always exciting to find something new in the county and particularly so if it is a new personal record. One such has come about as a result of one of the name changes that have plagued naturalists in recent years. In the Flora of Suffolk (Sanford & Fisk, 2010) I mentioned a record of the moss Tortula subulata var. angustata that had been found at Shottisham in 1981. This was an ill defined variety apparently having no special characters and I had been unable to detect it in any of the plants of T. subulata that I found in Suffolk. Recently however, Spanish bryologists renamed it T. schimperi on the basis of a strong bistratose leaf border. British bryologists, myself included, seemed to be slow to pick up on this and it was not until it was found in Huntingdon last year that I and other local bryologists checked our herbaria and discovered that we had been finding all along. Eastern England would appear to be the stronghold of this ‘new’ species in Britain. Having looked at the specimens in my herbarium, I then went on a search for it in the field, both to sites where I had recently recorded T. subulata and other suitable habitats. In Suffolk, T. schimperi outnumbers T. subulata by a factor of three to one with 19 and eight confirmed records respectively. One genuinely new species to the county is Plagiothecium cavifolium that I found in Stanstead Great Wood in April. Smith (2004) and Hill, Preston & Smith (1994) state that it is a plant of moist, basic mountain rock ledges, but it was found in Norfolk a few years ago and has also been found in Cornwall. It also occurs in the Netherlands, hardly a mountainous country, so it could be a rare, but native, part of the East Anglian bryophyte flora. In Suffolk, with its dry climate, many small liverworts find survival a challenge. Even where there is moisture, survival is uncertain. In Tunstall Forest, the damp forest ride where I found Fossombronia incurva in 2007 has become completely overgrown with Juncus sp. and I have been unable to find the Fossombronia there since 2010. At a similar site in Dunwich Forest, Lophozia excisa occurred at one of the three sites from which it was known in Suffolk. It has been completely obliterated by the wheels of vehicles clearing trees. It is however still doing well in a small pit on Dunwich Heath. The tiny liverwort Cololejeuna minutissima seems to be established in the Norman Gwatkin Nature Reserve at Henham, I recently found it there for the fourth time since 1990, each time on a different tree. It is however still very scarce in the rest of the county despite being a species that is spreading nationally. Other records of interest during 2012 are listed below. Liverworts: Fossombronia pusilla Frullania tamarisci

Bare soil on a forest ride, Stanstead Great Wood, Stanstead. TL84P, 30 October. Amongst stones on a vegetated shingle ridge, Orfordness. TM44D, 15 May. The first record from VC25 and the first recent record from Suffolk as a whole.

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Liverworts continued: Lepidoza reptans

On a rotting pine trunk, Stanstead Great Wood, Stanstead. TL84P, 12 July. A rare plant in West Suffolk.

Sphaerocarpos texanus

Stubble field at Belton TG40V, 4 January, Sugar beet fields in Freston TM13U and Tattingstone TM13P, 22 November. This BAP species seems to be quite common on the Shotley peninsula.

Mosses:Acaulon muticum

Bare soil in the gateway of a farm track beside the R. Lark, Mildenhall. TL67I, 15 October.

Aphanorhegma patens

Abundant on a footpath in a grazing meadow, Brantham, TM13H, 25 September. Bare soil at the side of a ditch, Rattlesden, TL95Z, 7 November.

Bryum algovicum var. rutheanum

On a concrete road at a disused WW2 site, Chedburgh TL75X, 15 March. There are few inland records of this sp. in Suffolk.

Bryum archangelicum

Kessingland Denes, TM58H, 27 June.

Dicranum montanum

Trunk of an ash tree, Free Wood, Bradfield St George. TL96A, 28 February, Trunk of an oak tree Great Birch Wood, Tattingstone. TM13P, 23 November.

Dicranum tauricum

On a rotting log, Free Wood, Bradfield St George. TL96A, 28 February. On a rotting tree stump, Great Birch Wood, Tattingstone. TM13P, 23 November.

Didymodon umbrosus

Abundant on the supporting wall, under a bridge on the A14, Kentford. TL76I, 8 March.

Encalypta vulgaris

Abundant in a disused chalk pit, Elveden. TL87I, 23 January.

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Mosses continued: Eucladium verticilliatum

On mortar of a brick bridge over the R. Lark, Ickworth Park, Horringer. TL86B, 19 June.

Grimmia dissimulata

Abundant on the top of grave stones in the churchyard, Walsham Le Willows. TL97V, 14 February.

Grimmia trichophylla

Small patch with sporophytes on stone capping of the parapet of a bridge over the railway line, Wetherden. TM06B, 11 April. Identical habitat to where this sp. was found with sporophytes at Thurston in 2011.

Hennediella macrophylla

At the side of a bridleway, Bildeston. TL94J, 16 February. On bare soil under trees, Ickworth Park, Horringer. TL86B, 19 June.

Hennediella stanfordensis

On bare soil around badger setts, Bramford. TM14C & 14D 13 April.

Neckera complanata

Just two sporophytes on a single frond in a large patch of this moss on the base of an ash tree, Ten Acre Wood, Walsham Le Willows. TL97W, 14 February. Sporophytes of this species are rare in eastern England. This is only second recent record from Suffolk.

Platygyrium repens

On the branch of an oak tree, Stanstead Great Wood, Stanstead. TL84P, 23 April. Trunk of a pear tree in a hedgerow, Clopton Green. TL75S, 30 April. Trunk of a willow, Sluice Wood, Martlesham TM24N, 15 November.

Pohlia lutescens

On the side of a ditch, Rushbrooke TL96A, 28 February. On soil around tree roots, Stanstead Great Wood, Stanstead TL84P, 12 July.

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Mosses continued: Pogonatum aloides

A few plants on the side of a ditch, Outney Common, Bungay. TM39F, 6 June. With abundant sporophytes on soil around roots of three fallen trees, Great Birch Wood, Tattingstone. TM13P, 3 November.

Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus

On the bank of saline lagoon Shingle Street TM34R, 7 August 1989 (D. Strauss). An unusual habitat for a species that is considered by some to be an indicator of ancient woodland.

Tortula vahliana

On the vertical clay bank of a disused pit, Tunstall. TM35M, 29 December.

Weissia brachycarpa var. obliqua

On a forest track, Elveden TL78I, 23 January, Open grassland, Knettishall Heath TL98K, 14 May.

References Hill, M. O., Preston, C. D. & Smith A. J. E. (1994). Atlas of the Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland, Vol. 3. Harley Books Sanford, M. N. & Fisk R. J. (2010). A Flora of Suffolk. D. K. & M. N. Sanford, Ipswich. Smith, A. J. E. (2004). The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Richard Fisk 35 Fair Close Beccles NR34 9QR

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 49 (2013)

BRYOPHYTES IN SUFFOLK 2012  

Richard Fisk

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