Annual meeting 1953: Norwich

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9 April 1953 - 11 April 1953

Meeting report

The Annual Meeting this year was held in Norwich, and was attended by about twenty-five members. This was the first occasion on which a B.B.S. meeting had been held in East Anglia, and if the district was less exciting bryologically than districts in the north and west, much of interest was seen.

The first day’s excursion, on 9 April, was to the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society’s nature reserve at Wheatfen Broad, near Surlingham. This consists largely of wet fen-carr dominated by Salix cinerea, with more open areas of Phragmites and Cladium fen. The carr had an interesting wet woodland bryophyte flora, including Mnium punctatum, Leskea polycarpa, Amblystegium kochii* and Eurhynchium speciosum; higher up on the branches of the Salix bushes grew Orthotrichum pulchellum, Frullania dilatata, Radula complanata, and Metzgeria furcata var. fruticulosa.* The areas of open fen had a disappointing flora, but Acrocladium giganteum, Drepanocladus aduncus and Campylium polygamum were noted. After a walk through the damp oakwood on the ‘landward’ side of the fen, the afternoon was spent in an area of very wet carr, with a great abundance of Mnium affine carpeting the ground. In this carr the party saw a monoicous bush of the usually dioicous Myrica gale.

[ * New vice-county record]

On Friday 10 April the party visited Swangey Fen, near Attleborough. The fen had unfortunately been recently burnt: nevertheless, many members saw Camptothecium nitens growing amongst the bases of the Cladium shoots with Drepanocladus revolvens var. intermedius. Various members explored the nearby damp fields and strips of woodland, the species seen including Physcomitrium pyriforme, Aneura multifida and Ulota crispa. The beautiful male catkins of Salix purpurea, which was flowering abundantly on the fen, were a memorable sight. A small area of marshy ground a mile or two to the south, which was visited during the afternoon, proved rather unprofitable, but two members returning to Norwich via Overa Heath found Acrocladium giganteum, Drepanocladus fluitans and Aneura major.

The last excursion, to Buxton Heath, was probably the most interesting for the majority of members. Here a shallow valley crossing a stretch of Calluna heath evidently receives calcareous water from the underlying chalk, and in it is developed a rich fen vegetation. The fen had a rich and varied bryophyte flora; the most notable species was Lophozia schultzii var. laxa, which was scattered over a wide area, though often in small quantity. Other species included Chiloscyphus polyanthus, Scapania aspera, Aneura multifida, Sphagnum squarrosum, Mnium pseudopunctatum, Aulacomnium palustre, Philonotis calcarea, Cratoneuron commutatum, Drepanocladus exannulatus, D. revolvens, D. vernicosus, Acrocladium stramineum and Ctenidium molluscum. In the wettest parts a lax form of Moerckia flotowiana grew together with Aneura pinguis. The vegetation of the valley sides was in striking contrast, with an abundance of a number of the commoner Sphagna. Patches of Leptoscyphus anomalus were conspicuous and the small liverworts growing amongst the Sphagnum included Cephalozia macrostachya, C. connivens, Lepidozia setacea and Cephaloziella elachista.* Gymnocolea inflata, Sphagnum compactum, Campylopus brevipilus and Drepanocladus fluitans were seen in the fringing wet heath. Other hepatics noted at Buxton Heath included Odontoschisma denudatum, and Scapania nemorosa.

A successful and enjoyable meeting owed much to the able and efficient organization of Mr Peterken and Mr Wallace. A word of thanks must also go to Mr E. A. Ellis, who kindly arranged to take us round Wheatfen Broad at very short notice.

M. C. F. Proctor