Hampshire bryophytes

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BBS Southern Group meetings

The British Bryological Society's Southern Group meets about once a month during October to April to record bryophytes in Hampshire and occasionally parts of neighbouring counties, including the Isle of Wight, Dorset and West Sussex (often combining forces with our neighbouring groups). Because some meetings are arranged at short notice and may be cancelled due to bad weather we operate an email contact list for the group, so please get in touch if you would like to be put on this list to receive advance notification of meetings. Beginners are welcome. All meetings start at 10.30 am unless otherwise stated, end at around 3-4 pm and most take place on Sundays. Wellington boots (as well as rainproofs, food, drink, etc.) are advisable for most meetings but stout walking boots may be preferable for those on dry or hilly ground. Don't forget to bring a hand lens. If you are coming to a meeting for the first time, please take a moment to read the BBS health and safety information.

Winter 2020/21 programme

Currently there is only one meeting arranged for winter 2021/22. This will be our usual joint meeting with the Wessex Bryology Group in the New Forest, and will be held on Sunday 31st October to look at the Hincheslea Bog area. This part of the New Forest is virtually unrecorded but there is a variety of habitats here, including wet heath and bog on the Forest’s base-rich Headon Beds, with records for Sphagnum contortum and S. teres from one location. Wellies are highly recommended. Meet at the Longslade Bottom car park at SU 269001, just north of Set Thorns Inclosure, off minor road between Brockenhurst and Sway at 10.30 am. We’ll finish around 3-4pm depending on light, etc. Booking by email only to John Norton (john@jnecology.uk). I will let people know if the meeting is cancelled for any reason. Current government Coronavirus restrictions will apply.


Click to enlarge photos. Status codes: CR = county rare; CS = county scarce; NS = nationally scarce; VU = Vulnerable (GB Red List). County rarity statuses are provisional.

Sunday, 25 October 2020: Bramshaw Wood, New Forest

* to follow - see above *

Sunday 2 February 2020: South-east Hayling, Hampshire. Download species list

Most of the day was spent on a walk around the south-eastern coast of Hayling Island, at Selsmore. At the edge of a campsite we found colonies of Sphaerocarpos michelii (NS, CS) and the rare but likely under-recorded fungus Octospora axillaris growing on Phascum cuspidatum var. cuspidatum. Nearby we also collected P. cuspidatum var. piliferum (CS), identified by its long hair-points, and Tortella flavovirens (CS), two saline-tolerant taxa strongly associated with saltmarsh habitats. Eventually, we also managed to find another typical coastal species: Hennediella heimii (CS). Also at Selsmore we found several patches of Rhynchostegium megapolitanum (as expected) growing mainly on sections of concrete sea defence, but more of a surprise was finding Fissidens incurvus under coastal scrub. We also found Syntrichia papillosa unusually growing on a section of north-facing concrete sea defence, together with fruiting Orthotrichum diaphanum. In the afternoon we had enough time for a short look at Black Point where R. megapolitanum was abundant on sand, especially under grassy vegetation. The overflow car park by the lifeboat station was also very productive, with species including Brachythecium mildeanum, Drepanocladus aduncus and Dicranella varia; however, we were unable to confirm an interesting Bryum species (possibly B. creberrimum) through lack of mature capsules.

Hayling coast at Selsmore Sphaerocarpos michelii spores Phascus cuspidatum var. piliferum Rhynchostegium megapolitanum with capsules

Saturday 7th December 2019: Harting Down, West Sussex. Download species list

The highlight of this meeting was finding several thriving colonies of Rhodobryum roseum on the numerous ant-hills on the site, along with a few small patches of Dicranum bonjeanii. Read the See South-east Group blog here.

Rhodobryum roseum at Harting Down Rhodobryum roseum at Harting Down

Sunday 24th November 2019: Hogmoor Inclosure, Bordon, Hampshire. Download report.

The long spell of rainy weather in autumn 2019 had provided ideal conditions for liverworts and ephemeral species to grow in the open sandy areas, especially in the north of the site and along the main tracks. These areas supported a bright green Cephaloziella, probably C. hampeana (CS), along with Lophozia excisa (CS), L. ventricosa (with red and green gemmae respectively) and Pohlia wahlenbergii. One small patch of Fossombronia sp. was also found in this habitat (perhaps F. incurva). A small Philonotis near the car park appeared to be a good candidate for P. arnellii, which would have been new for Hampshire, but the BSBI moss recorder thought that it was a similar-looking young form of P. fontana. Other species recorded from sandy areas included Lophocolea semiteres (along with abundant L. bidentata), Pogonatum urnigerum (CS) and Polytrichum piliferum.

At the pond in the south-east of the site there was still a little Pohlia bulbifera* present (first recorded on 18 May during a Hampshire Flora Group meeting), on previously disturbed ground with Leptobryum pyriforme. The adjacent willow carr was rich in epiphytes, including Ulota bruchii (surprisingly new to the 10km square), plus U. crispa s.s., Orthotrichum pulchellum and all three common Metzgerias. Amongst some fruiting Hypnum cupressiforme on the roots of an old fallen willow a patch of something with slightly different looking capsules was checked and found to be Sanionia uncinata (CR), new for VC12 and a very local species in southern Britain. Nearby was a small patch of Polytrichum commune.

The group checked a small area of wet heath dominated by overgrown heather at the southern end of the site where John Norton had recorded Dicranum spurium (VU, CS, NS) during a heathland survey in 2002. After quite a bit of searching we eventually found two small patches. There were also several other typical heathland species here, including D. scoparium, Aulacomnium palustre, Pleurozium schreberi and three Sphagnum species in very small amounts. Aulacomnium androgynum was also found nearby.

New 10km square records (SU73) during the 2019 visits (18 May, 24 Nov) were: Archidium alternifolium, Drepanocladus aduncus, Lophocolea semiteres, Pogonatum urnigerum, Pohlia bulbifera, Sanionia uncinata, Ulota bruchii and Ulota crispa s.s.

Sanionia uncinata at Hogmoor Inclosure Dicranum spurium at Hogmoor Inclosure

Sunday 27th October 2019: Crockford Bottom marl pits, New Forest, Hampshire (joint meeting with Wessex Bryology Group). Download report.

An excellent day with nice sunny weather and a good turnout. Campyliadelphus elodes (NS, CR), last seen here in 2010 by Des Callaghan, was found in three places, including the recently managed marl pit on the east side of the road (see photos). There are about four other sites in Hampshire, but recent records at only two of these, both in VC11. Large quantities of tuberous Bryums were present on pony-grazed damp acid grassland on the west side of the road, north of the stream. The consensus was that these comprised B. subapiculatum and B. bornholmense (CS), both being new for SZ39. A good selection of mosses of calcareous flushes was recorded, including Scorpidium cossonii, S. scorpioides, Palustriella falcata and Sphagnum contortum (all CS). Also of interest were records of several calicole liverworts and mosses on the calcareous clay around the ponds, including Leiocolea turbinata, Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, Ditrichum gracile and Fissidens dubius. This is the only known site in the New Forest  or the first of these; the others are locally commo , particularly on old airfield sites. Another good find was Climacium dendroides (CS) in the turf by the car park. Also new for the 10km square (SZ39) were: Aulacomnium androgynum, Cryphaea heteromalla, Didymodon vinealis, Orthotrichum striatum, Polytrichastrum longisetum, Sphagnum fallax, Straminergon stramineum, Trichodon cylindricus and Ulota crispula.

marl pit at Crockford Bridge Campyliadelphus elodes