Annual meeting 1948: London

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1 October 1948 - 3 October 1948

Meeting report

On the afternoon of Friday, 1 October, nearly thirty members assembled in the board room of the British Museum (Nat. History), where previous meetings in London have been held through the good offices of Dr J. Ramsbottom, Keeper of the Department of Botany. Dr P. W. Richards opened the proceedings with a talk about his experiences with Dr E. W. Jones and Mr J. P. M. Brenan in tropical West Africa entitled ‘Bryological Impressions of Nigeria and the Cameroons’. This was illustrated by lantern slides showing rain forest and mountain scenery; noteworthy bryophytes referred to in the course of the talk were exhibited on a side table. Dr Jones who had devoted special study to the hepaticae was unable to be present as hoped. Those who know Dr Jones’s keen eye in the field will not be surprised that he found a species of Nanomitrium in West Africa!

After an interval for tea, Dr D. G. Catcheside gave a lecture on the cytology of Hepatics, explaining and illustrating the general principles involved.

He showed how many closely allied and critical species can be differentiated by the aid of results obtained from cytological research and gave as examples British species from the genera Riccia, Nardia, Calypogeia and Frullania etc. It is evident that there is much scope for original research on the lines described in elucidating taxonomic problems.

Saturday, 2 October, was a very fine autumn day, and the field excursion on the pine and heather covered commons about Wisley Lake in Surrey was very successful.

The most noteworthy find was Dicranum undulatum seen in two small areas, the first notice in Surrey for over thirty years. Most members present had not seen this in the field before, though it was seen in Angus by a few members during the Kirriemuir meeting in 1947. Close by on the site of a drained pond Fossombronia foveolata (Dumortieri), Riccardia sinuata var. major occurred, the former in great quantity. There was much of Atrichum tenellum too, but the minute Nanomitrium tenerum found here the previous autumn, was not to be seen.

A peaty roadside bank yielded Tritomaria exsectiformis and across the Portsmouth road Dicranum spurium was found as expected amongst heather. A low peaty area carried much Mylia anomala, Lepidozia setacea and other species that delight to creep amongst Sphagnum. Later, after tea, Odontoschisma denudatum was noticed near the lake and extensive sheets of Drepanocladus fluitans . Other plants of general interest were observed.

The following day a small party spent a few hours on Boxhill, well known for its rich calcicolous bryophyte flora, probably the finest anywhere on the chalk. Noteworthy plants were Tortula mutica, Cinclidotus mucronatus, Scleropodium caespitosum on boles of trees by the River Mole at the foot of the steep western escarpment, and Eurhynchium striatulum (N.C.R. for V.C. 17) on tree roots just above. Elsewhere in turf, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Tortella tortuosa, Thuidium hystricosum, T. philiberti, Entodon orthocarpus, Scapania aspera and Frullania tamarisci were seen. On rotten wood in a copse Dicranum strictum grew profusely, with Thuidium tamariscinum, Brachythecium purum and Cirriphyllum piliferum all bearing immature fruit.

E. C. Wallace