Annual meeting 1951: Oxford

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29 March 1951 - 31 March 1951

Meeting report

This year the annual Meeting was held in Oxford and attended by over forty members who assembled on Thursday evening, 29 March, in the new building of the Imperial Forestry Institute. Full advantage was taken of the excellent facilities for display of specimens, and an interesting exhibition was on view of fresh and dried bryophytes, diagrams, photographs and microscopic slides. Special mention must be made of a series of hand-coloured lantern slides of British mosses made by our member Mr R. H. Hall, which were much admired. Dr E. W. Jones gave an introductory talk on ‘The Bryology of the Oxford District’.

Two excursions were arranged; the first to Watlington Hill, a steep escarpment of the Chilterns rising to 794 ft. Chalk bryophytes were abundant and the following species were seen: Ditrichum flexicaule, Encalypta streptocarpa, Pottia recta, Phascum curvicollum, Tortella tortuosa, Pleurochaete squarrosa (rare), Trichostomum crispulum, Thuidium hystricosum, T. abietinum, T. philiberti, Climacium dendroides, Entodon orthocarpus, Lophozia turbinata, Scapania aspera and Frullania tamarisci. On the way a stop was made to examine an old stone wall at Cuddesdon, where Ceratodon purpureus var. conicus was growing in abundance with Aloina ambigua and Pottia lanceolata. On the return a short halt was made at Pishill Bank, a wood on acid soil where Eucalyx hyalinus was growing on damp tracks with other small hepatics, Polytrichum nanum, Mnium stellare and Bartramia pomiformis (rare in Oxfordshire) were seen, but Buxbaumia aphylla discovered here in 1947 could not be refound. A few minutes were then spent at Howe Wood where Mnium stellare was not uncommon with Eurhynchium schleicheri and Brachythecium glareosum. In the evening E. A. Schelpe read a paper ‘The Bryophytes of fallow fields’ describing his researches on the subject during the past two years.

On the second day the excursion was to Cothill and Frilford, a short stop being made to see Eurhynchium megapolitanum fruiting on a sandy roadside bank at Foxcombe Hill. Cothill Marsh was very full of water owing to the recent heavy rains, and many species were in fine fruit, the most interesting being: Fissidens adianthoides, Mnium pseudopunctatum, M. seligeri, Philonotis calcarea, Campylium stellatum, Cratoneuron commutatum, Drepanocladus revolvens var. intermedius, Sphagnum acutifolium, S. plumulosum and Chiloscyphus pallescens. Ctenidium molluscum was growing on very boggy ground.

Several of the preceding species occurred again at Frilford with Acrocladium giganteum and Plagiothecium silvaticum var, roeseanum. The party was then taken to Chawley Brick Pits. Disused since 1936, these greensand and clay pits produce a remarkable collection of bryophytes of which the following were seen: Sphagnum squarrosum, Polytrichum urnigerum, Dicranella cerviculata, Rhacomitrium canescens, Bryum intermedium, Drepanocladus aduncus, Aneura sinuata, A. pinguis, A. multifida, Lophozia capitata, Eucalyx hyalinus, Aplozia crenulata, Alicularia geoscyphus, Sphenolobus exsectiformis, Blasia pusilla and Cephaloziella hampeana. One group then walked to Hen Wood where Leptodontium flexifolium was fruiting.

Although no new vice-county records were made, the three-day meeting was thoroughly enjoyed by all members and at the Annual General Meeting a hearty vote of thanks was passed to Dr E. W. Jones for the excellent way in which he had arranged the programme.

R. A. Boniface