Bryophyte Field Meeting, Ban-y-Gor Wood November 2003 by Peter Martin and Juliet Bailey

The Moss Group – Peter Martin (county bryophyte recorder), with Juliet Bailey, Cathy Beeching, Libby Houston, Claire and Mark Kitchen, and Richard Lansdown – visited Ban-y-Gor wood (ST536967) on 1 November 2003. Ban-y-Gor is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust reserve of steep woodland and shaded cliff on the banks of the Wye near Chepstow.

In total, 49 species of moss and 12 species of liverwort were recorded.

The outstanding plant found was the very local Marchesinia mackaii, which in places covered areas as large as 1 sq m. At times this was the only bryophyte on the rock faces and was clearly a pioneer in areas of relatively new rock fall.

In the first quarry (old tractor) the bryophytes on the boulders were luxuriant. A Ctenidium was found that looked different from the normal Ctenidium to the extent that those who knew Ctenidium could not recognise the plant. I thought that this was the variety fastigatum and I sent the specimen to Gordon Rothero (BBS recorder of mosses). He was not that convinced. He said he had just received a specimen very similar from Cliff Townsend (once of Gloucestershire) which Cliff had named var. condensatum, which Gordon also rejected. I am not convinced about our plant and hope to have a look at more specimens of C. molluscum some time.

Near the bottom of the path there was the very slender Amblystegium confervoides (formerly Platydictya). This was on the top surface of a stone and it made Amblystegium look robust by comparison! This has not been seen for about 60 years in Gloucestershire and is therefore officially re-recorded. A specimen has been lodged with the BBS herbarium.

In the first quarry there was Hylocomium brevirostre on the boulders along with the local Eurhynchium striatulum (formerly Isothecium). On the rock faces above was the minute liverwort Cololejeunea calcarea. The red carpet of liverwort on a decaying log was Nowellia curvifolia. Scapania nemorea was quite common on the more sheltered rock faces, a liverwort I have not seen further to the east in the Cotswolds.

Plenty of commoner bryophytes were found. Trichostomum brachydontium was extremely common on cracks in the rock face or ledges often growing with Eucladium verticillatum – which is unique in the moss flora in having rounded teeth only at the base of the leaf. These are visible with the hand lens (x20). It is always a pleasure to see Schistidium ! We found 2 species – most of the plants seen were S. crassipilum with a few scraps of S. apocarpum. Unusually, there was a tuft of S. crassipilum on a tree next to the river. The tuft was about 2m. above the ground. I have seen in the past some strange assemblages of bryophtes on trees close to active quarries. Here the dust settles on the trees and odd things are found on them such as Tortella, Didymodon etc.. The tree here did not seem like that. I do not know whether dried dust from the riverbank might get blown onto the trees to produce a similar situation.

This visit was part of series of visits to survey the bryophyte flora of Gloucestershire nature reserves. Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings, no experience necessary. Contact Peter Martin ([email protected]) for details of future meetings.

Ban-y-Gor Wood is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust reserve, and is open at all times. Casual visitors are requested to keep to the main path.

This list covers what in the end was a short walk into the reserve, starting at the old quarry at ST540968, then proceeding along the lower rock faces at ST541968 then finally briefly down the path to the river at ST542970.

Mosses

Amblystegium confervoides(NVCR)

Amblystegium serpens var. serpens

Anomodon viticulosus

Atrichum undulatum

Barbula convoluta

Barbula unguiculata

Brachythecium rutabulum

Bryum capillare var. capillare

Calliergonella cuspidata

Cratoneuron filicinum

Cryphaea heteromalla

Ctenidium molluscum var. molluscum

Dicranella heteromalla

Dicranum scoparium

Didymodon fallax

Didymodon sinuosus

Didymodon tophacea

Encalypta streptocarpa

Eucladium verticillatum

Eurhynchium praelongum

Eurhnchium striatulum

Eurhynchium striatum

Fissidens dubius

Fissidens taxifolius var. taxifolius

Fissidens viridulus

Homalia trichomanioides

Homalothecium sericeum

Hylocomium brevirostre

Hypnum cupressiforme var cupressiforme

Isothecium alopecuroides

Isothecium myosuroides var. myosuroides

Mnium hornum

Neckera complanata

Neckera crispa

Orthotrichum affine

Plagiomnium undulatum

Polytrichum formosum

Rhynchostegiella tenella

Rhynchostegium confertum

Schistidium apocarpum

Schistidium crassipilum

Thamnobryum alopecurum

Thuidium tamariscinum

Tortella tortuosa

Tortula muralis var. muralis

Trichostomum brachydontium

Ulota bruchii

Zygodon conoideus

Zygodon viridissimus var. viridissimus

Liverworts

Cololejeunea calcarea

Cephalozia bicuspidata

Frullania dilatata

Lejeunea cavifolia

Lejeunea lamacerina

Marchesinia mackaii

Metzgeria furcata

Nowellia curvifolia

Pellia endiviifolia

Plagiochila asplenioides

Plagiochila porelloides

Scapania nemorea

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