Thursday, 5 April 2018

Easily overlooked

In my previous blog I mentioned Common Liverwort at the foot of walls in Daventry. Liverworts and mosses are not my field, nor are lichens, but sometimes they are they are so obvious that it is difficult to ignore them. Sometimes too, under the microscope, they are intriguing and even beautiful.
On bare earth, on a shady and rather damp bank at the east end of Foxhill Farm, grew Common Pocket-moss, Fissidens taxifolius. It is a widespread species often found in gardens where the soil is damp and shady. I am 90% confident about my identification but the fruiting capsules, which I failed to find, would be necessary to be certain it wasn't F. bryoides.
Fissidens species are like tiny ferns. This is probably
Fissidens taxifolius. 3 April, 2018
Many gardeners will be familiar with - and curse - Springy Turf-moss, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus. It can be abundant in lawns but I regularly find it on roadside verges, especially where the ground is moist. Its distinctive leaf-arrangement gives it a star-like appearance when viewed from above. Mowing or grazing actually suits it and it dies out when shaded by longer grass. Here it was abundant.
Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus is easier to identify than it is to spell!
Near the Newnham windmill. 3 April, 2018
Finally a cup lichen in the genus Cladonia. It seems a dead ringer for Cladonia fimbriata; as with the Fissidens species, I can not be absolutely certain but this is more like 99% correct. It was growing on dry soil on an overhanging but sunny bank.
Cladonia fimbriata is one of the commonest of cup lichens.
Near Newnham windmill. 3 April, 2018

Mosses and liverworts, like lichens, can be a fascinating study but the old enemy, time, is the problem.
Grubbing about on the hillside I added a click beetle, a ground beetle, a millipede and a couple of spiders to the farm total but we are now in April so the invertebrate total of 79 species is quite disappointing.

Tony White:

No comments:

Post a Comment