Annual meeting 1958: Pembroke

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4 April 1958 - 9 April 1958

Meeting report

The Society held its Easter Meeting from 4 to 9 April in Pembrokeshire, the south-west promontory of Wales. It began in showers of snow, but the weather soon improved, and from the afternoon of 4 April was mainly sunny, if chilly, to the end. A considerable number of new records were made by the following members: Miss U. K. Duncan, Mrs Paton, A. C. Crundwell, R. Lewis, A. H. Norkett, F. A. Sowter and E. F. Warburg. Of exceptional interest was the discovery of a moss new to the British Isles by Mr Norkett, who detected Fissidens flexinervis Mitt. on 3 April before the meeting began. It was growing in Little Treffgarne Woods on the clay side of the Spittal Brook. He reports that the stream was fairly low, so that sometimes the side would be flooded. Nearby was a disused woollen mill, to which the species may have at some time been imported in wool. The moss is widely distributed in South America and the West Indies. A distinctive feature of this species is its prominent excurrent nerve, which has a kink in it about three-quarters of the way up (hence flexinervis). It belongs to the section Aloma and is most closely related to the tiny annual F. exilis. Also on 3 April Dr Warburg found Archidium alternifolium,, growing at Newgale Sands, south-east of St David’s.

New county records in the report below are marked by an asterisk.

4 April. The first excursion was to the hard igneous rocks of Great Treffgarne Mountain, where several members saw Lepidozia pinnata, a striking but uncommon hepatic of our western coastal districts. Also on the hillside were Odontoschisma denudatum*, Cephaloziella starkei, Leptodontium flexifolium* and Campylopus introflexus*, while on a rock face Cynodontium bruntonii was seen. In the afternoon the party went down into the nearby valley of the Western Cleddau. This was pleasantly wooded with sessile oak, birch, ash, hawthorn and hazel. Here Porella pinnata* was found on the rocks in the river, and Fissidens monguilloni*, new to Wales, was by it. Other plants of interest seen were Fissidens curnowii, Grimmia alpicola var. rivularis*, Mnium seligeri, Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum, Hygroamblystegium fluviatile, and Plagiothecium succulentum among rocks in the wood. On the trees by the river various members detected Orthotrichum rivulare*, O. lyellii with abundant fruit, and Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica*. In addition, neighbouring walls yielded Orthotrichum cupulatum* and Bryum murale, and Pohlia annotina var. decipiens* was found on the ground. Mr Sowter recorded Chiloscyphus polyanthos var. rivularis* in Picton Park.

5 April. The party’s first destination was a low-lying marshy wood at Trewellwell, near St David’s. In this area Dr Warburg recorded Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica, Weissia crispata, Rhodobryum roseum, Orthotrichum pulchellum* and Plagiothecium succulentum. Farther south, near Solva, where a stream cuts through a steep-sided valley, some interesting records that members made included Metzgeria fruticulosa, Lunularia with antheridia, Porella pinnata, Marchesinia mackaii, Cololejeunea minutissima, Campylopus introflexus and Grimmia stirtonii. Members then went down to the coast of Whitesand Bay, by St David’s Head, for lunch. Igneous rocks and hard acidic shale composed the cliffs and shore boulders. On soil among the cliffs Mr Lewis detected Riccia beyrichiana, while various members saw Desmatodon convolutus and Pottia crinita; Mr Crundwell noted Eurhynchium megapolitanum on an earth-capped wall and Pottia recta in a stubble field. On top of the cliffs, under blackthorn bushes, Mr Norkett found Fissidens incurvus var. tamarindifolius*, and makes the following comment on it: ‘Potier de la Varde has pointed out that the tamarindifolius forms of various small Fissidens are simply growth forms except in this case, where the male plants are situated on small branches at the base of sterile stems, which are elongated and bear unbordered leaves.’ Miss Duncan recorded Bryum alpinum var. viride on a small hill near by.

The Annual General Meeting was held in the evening, and members decided to hold a spring meeting in the region of the Mendips in 1959.

6 April. A small wooded valley by Walwyn’s Castle, south of Haverfordwest, now provided some interesting ground on the Old Red Sandstone. On his way here from north of Haverfordwest Mr Norkett detected F. rufulus*,, at Barris Hill, also on Old Red Sandstone, growing on outcrops of rock in the bed of a rushing stream. At Walwyn’s Castle the several species of Orthotrichum noted included O. pulchellum, O. striatum and O. tenellum, while Ulota phyllantha was abundant on the trees in the valley; Mr Crundwell noted Epipterygium tozeri in the bank of a lane, and Neckera pumila,, on a willow. When the attentions of some lichenologists could be distracted from a public building they were attacking with chisels, the members moved off after lunch towards the coast at Monk Haven. On the way they paused at Capeston Bridge, near which Mr Norkett detected Fissidens algarvicus* and F. bambergeri*. He finds from examining the records that these two appear to be confined almost exclusively to the Old Red Sandstone formation in this country. Other mosses found here included Cinclidotus fontinaloides, Aloina aloides and Tortula muralis var. rupestris. Monk Haven was a sheltered wooded inlet by the sea, with cliffs of Old Red Sandstone, and here members recorded Fissidens viridulus, Grimmia subsquarrosa, Pottia crinita, Weissia crispata and Funaria fascicularis.

7 April. The morning was spent at Saundersfoot, on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, where oak woodland covered a shaley hillside that ended in low cliffs by the shore. Trichostomum crispulum and Fissidens curnowii were noted. The pace hotted up in the afternoon, when the party moved on to the carboniferous limestone at Lydstep, a few miles westward along the coast. Here Dr Warburg recorded Bryum canariense var. provinciale*, new to Wales, as well as Funaria muehlenbergii, Barbula convoluta var. commutata, and, at nearby, Manorbier, Barbula hornschuchiana*, At the latter place he also noted Bryum pendulum and Eurhynchium megapolitanum. Mrs Paton and Mr Crundwell found Leptodon smithii on elders at the top of Lydstep cliffs, while on the ground among the limestone various members found Pleurochaete squarrosa and a moss that is thought to be a form of Pottia starkeana.

8 April. In low mist the party investigated the slopes of Mynydd Prescelly, where granite boulders outcropped from open moorland, and mountain streams rushed down. On the hillside several members saw Dicranella squarrosa in fruit. Dr Warburg recorded Thuidium delicatulum*, and Mrs Paton Lophozia incisa*, Cephalozia connivens*, and Lepidozia setacea*. Fissidens curnowii was again reported, and so were Pohlia annotina var. decipiens, Funaria attenuata, Plagiothecium succulentum and Riccardia sinuata. After lunch at the foot of Mynydd Prescelly the party went northwards to the sheltered wooded valley of Cwm Gwaun, near Fishguard. This resulted in another hepatic being added to the county list, Jubula hutchinsiae*, growing on rocks in the stream. Also found there were Porella pinnata, Fissidens rufulus, Diphyscium foliosum, Hygroamblystegium fluviatile and Plagiothecium succulentum.

9 April. Some members returned on this day, but one of the survivors, Dr Warburg, added more bryophytes to the county list from the region of Pembroke – Amblystegium serpens var. salinum* at Broomhill Burrows and Porella cordeana* near the Lily Pools, Bosherston. At the first he also recorded Barbula acuta, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Brachythecium mildeanum and Bryum alpinum. Two plants of uncommon interest at Bosherston were Fossombronia caespitiformis and Scorpiurum circinatum. There, too, were Fissidens incurvus and F. viridulus, while Desmatodon convolutus was again recorded, this time at St Govan’s Head. Miss Duncan went to Mathry, south-west of Fishguard, and found Orthotrichum tenellum on a willow and Funaria fascicularis on bare soil in a meadow.

This exceptionally interesting meeting enabled a number of members to find plants they had not seen before and to add about a score to the county list. The Society’s thanks go to Mr A. E. Wade for organizing the excursions so skilfully and attending to the many details needed to make such a meeting run smoothly. Finally, several members sent me details of the species they recorded, and I am most grateful to them for doing so.

T. D. V. Swinscow