Annual meeting 1962: Helston

HomeEventsAnnual meeting 1962: Helston

3 April 1962 - 10 April 1962

Meeting report

The Spring meeting was held at Helston from 3 to 10 April. Cornwall is a county which has never before been visited by the Society. Thirty-three members were present for all or part of the week and it was with great pleasure that we welcomed Mrs E. Nyholm to the meeting. The Annual General Meeting was held on the evening of 7 April with Dr E. F. Warburg in the chair. All excursions were held in vice-county 1.

The Lizard Peninsula was the main attraction of the meeting and three days were spent exploring the region. The first excursion (4 April) was to an area of serpentine rock on the cliffs south of Coverack. The morning was spent on Chynhalls Point and later the cliffs between there and Black Head were explored. On the second excursion (6 April) the morning was spent on hornblende schists on the cliffs at Housel Bay and near the Lizard Lighthouse. In the afternoon the serpentine rocks of the cliffs and valleys about Kynance were explored. On the third excursion (9 April) Bonython Plantation near Mullion was visited and, after a brief stop to examine the heaths near Ruan Pool on Predannack Downs, members visited the coast at Church Cove, Gunwalloe.

During these three days members were able to see many of the bryophytes for which the Lizard is noted. Near the Lighthouse Dr Whitehouse showed members where Tortula stanfordensis was first found in Britain. Other species seen here included Riccia beyrichiana, R. crozalsii, R. nigrella and R. sorocarpa, Frullania microphylla, Fissidens viridulus, F. incurvus, Desmatodon convolutus, Pottia davalliana, P. wilsonii, Tortella flavovirens and Trichostomum crispulum. At Church Cove finds included Pottia davalliana, P. heimii, Weissia multicapsularis, Bryum murale and Grimmia maritima on the cliffs, and Tortella flavovirens var. glareicola in sandy turf. A number of rare plants were seen at Kynance including Ephemerum sessile on the cliff top and Harpalejeunea ovata in a rocky crevice. Other species seen here were Reboulia hemisphaerica, Fossombronia wondraczeki, Cephaloziella rubella, Lejeunea cavifolia and L. lamacerina var. azorica, Ditrichum flexicaule, Fissidens adianthoides, Pottia heimii, Amblystegium serpens var. salinum, Brachythecium mildeanum, and on rocks in the streams, Cinclidotus fontinaloides and Rhynchostegiella teesdalei. A wide variety of species were seen near Coverack and Gongylanthus ericetorum was found scattered in several places near Black Head. Other hepatics seen near here included Riccia glauca, Fossombronia pusilla, Leiocolea turbinata, Cephaloziella hampeana, C. stellulifera and C. calyculata. Mosses included Fissidens bambergeri*, F. cristatus, Pottia crinita var. viridifolia, P. intermedia, Phascum curvicollum*, Aloina aloides, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Bryum rubens, B. murale, Brachythecium glareosum, Rhynchostegiella tenella and Ctenidium molluscum. The following species were reported both from near Coverack and about Kynance: Riccia beyrichiana, R. crozalsii, R. nigrella, R. sorocarpa, Plagiochila spinulosa, Saccogyna viticulosa, Cololejeunea minutissima, Frullania microphylla, Fissidens viridulus, F. incurvus, Archidium alternifolium, Pleuridium acuminatum, Desmatodon convolutus, Pottia wilsonii, Funaria fascicularis, and Eurhynchium megapolitanum. Several less common species such as Fossombronia husnotii var. anglica, F. angulosa, Radula lindbergiana, Porella thuja, P. laevigata, Marchesinia mackaii, Frullania tamarisci var. robusta and Pterogonium gracile were also seen in both places. A number of species typical of the Lizard cliffs were noted at all four of the places visited and these included Pottia crinita, P. commutata, P. starkeana and P. recta, Weissia microstoma, W. controversa, Trichostomum brachydontium and var. littorale, Ulota phyllantha and Scleropodium illecebrum.

[* = New v.c. record]

Near Ruan Pool a number of additional species were seen of which Dicranum bonjeani and Campylopus introflexus were also reported at Kynance. Near the pool Sphagnum compactum, Drepanocladus lycopodioides and D. sendtneri were noted and on gorse stems a few plants of Colura calyptrifolia were found. On an area of heath nearby a very small quantity of Cephaloziella dentata was seen growing with Fossombronia pusilla.

Bonython Plantation is the only woodland on the peninsula, but much of it has recently been felled and replanted with conifers with a resultant decrease in the bryophyte flora. However, a very small quantity of Lejeunea mandonii was seen on shaded rocks and also the following species: Metzgeria conjugata, Radula lindbergiana, Porella laevigata, Marchesinia mackaii, Frullania microphylla, Pterogonium gracile and Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum. Riccardia latifrons,* Cephalozia connivens and Tetraphis pellucida were found on rotting logs, and Sphagnum subsecundum var. auriculatum, Cirriphyllum piliferum and Rhynchostegiella pumila were also noted.

In contrast to the Lizard Peninsula other parts of the Cornish coast were visited. A morning (7 April) was spent at Portheras Cove near Morvah in the extreme west of the county where the rocks are of granite. Philonotis rigida was seen on lower parts of the wet crumbling cliff face, but it was found that only a small quantity had survived the winter storms. Other plants seen on the cliffs were Leiocolea turbinata, Plectocolea hyalina, Epipterygium tozeri and Fissidens curnowii. In the rocky valley inland Calypogeia fissa, C. arguta, Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii and Plagiothecium ruthei* were found together with typical coast species such as Fossombronia angulosa, Scapania compacta and Ulota phyllantha. On the track leading into the cove Riccia sorocarpa, R. crozalsii, Fossombronia husnotii var. anglica and Bryum sauteri were found.

During the week some members also visited another area of granite coast at Lamorna Cove south of Penzance. Here Campylopus polytrichoides was seen and other species noted were Anthoceros husnotii, Fossombronia angulosa, Scapania compacta, Frullania tamarisci var. robusta, Bryum alpinum and Hedwigia ciliata.

In the afternoon an attempt was made to explore Carn Galva north of Morvah, a ridge of high ground half a mile inland, strewn with large granite boulders and rising to 800 ft. alt., but bad weather prevented members reaching the higher ground. However, a number of species not seen on other excursions were noted and these included Plagiochila punctata, Douinia ovata,* Scapania gracilis, Andreaea rothii, Dicranoweissia cirrata, Dicranum scottianum, D. fuscescens and Rhacomitrium heterostichum var. gracilescens on the boulders. Lepidozia reptans, L. setacea, and Tritomaria exsectiformis were found on peat, and in mats between the boulders Dicranum majus, Plagiothecium undulatum, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and R. triquetrus, all with capsules.

Two more coastal areas were visited during the meeting so that calcareous ground (rare in Cornwall) could be examined. These were at Carbis Bay (5 April) where there are wet calcareous sandy and rocky cliffs, and Gear near Perranporth (8 April) where there are extensive dunes part of which have been mined, the spoil heaps being particularly basic. In an old copper mine above the shore at Carbis Bay several members saw Cephaloziella massalongoi on a sheltered dripping rock face where it was first recorded by Nicholson. Higher up beside the cliff path towards St Ives material which Nicholson called var. nicholsonii was seen on a retaining wall and on stony slopes above. Riccardia multifida, Gymnocolea inflata, Scapania compacta and Pohlia rothii were also noted. East of Carbis Bay a number of species typical of wet cliffs were seen including Barbula tophacea, Eucladium verticillatum, Funaria attenuata and Eurhynchium speciosum. Neckera crispa was local on the drier cliffs. At Gear Southbya tophacea was found well scattered over part of the area of mine waste and other species found on the spoil heaps were Lophozia excisa, Cephaloziella calyculata, Encalypta streptocarpa, Aloina ambigua, Pottia caespitosa, Gymnostomum calcareum and Bryum donianum. On the dunes Tortula ruraliformis and Camptothecium lutescens were both found fruiting freely. Other species noted were Barbula fallax, B. acuta, B. hornschuchiana, Tortella flavovirens var. glareicola, Campylium chrysophyllum, Brachythecium glareosum and B. mildeanum. In the dune slacks Petalophyllum ralfsii was found, together with Riccardia sinuata, R. pinguis, Fossombronia husnotii var. anglica and Drepanocladus aduncus var. aduncus. The following species were all seen both on the dunes at Gear and on the cliffs at Carbis Bay: Leiocolea turbinata, Ditrichum flexicaule, Dicranella varia, Tortella flavovirens var. flavovirens, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Trichostomum crispulum, Cratoneuron filicinum, Amblystegium serpens var. salinum, Eurhynchium megapolitanum and Ctenidium molluscum.

Other places visited by members during the week included two wooded valleys near Penzance. On the stream banks below Castle Horneck Fissidens serrulatus was seen, and on woodland banks Fissidens algarvicus,* Epipterygium tozeri, Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum and Rhynchostegiella pumila were found. On the stream banks in the Trevaylor valley Fissidens polyphyllus was found to be abundant locally, with F. curnowii. Fontinalis squamosa was fruiting on stones in the stream. On elders near by Metzgeria fruticulosa, Orthotrichum affine, O. striatum, O. pulchellum and O. diaphanum, Ulota phyllantha, U. crispa, U. bruchii, Cryphaea heteromalla and Neckera pumila were noted. Ditrichum cylindricum and Physcomitrium pyriforme were seen in fields, and Schistostega pennata was found fruiting on a shaded earthy wall.

In an old quarry near Helston Metzgeria fruticulosa, Plagiochila asplenioides var. major, Tortula papillosa,* T. laevipila and Bryum donianum were found by one member. In Gilbert’s Coombe north of Redruth several members collected Cephaloziella massalongoi and Pohlia rothii. About a derelict mine near Ventongimps north of Truro Pottia starkeana was seen, and on a shaded roadside bank south of Gweek a small amount of Ditrichum subulatum was found. Members also report gatherings of Pottia, Weissia, Bryum, a Philonotis and a Fissidens, but further study is required on all these before names can be published.

The number of new county records made during the meeting was disappointing, but this was to be expected as several of the areas visited had been well worked in the past especially by W. E. Nicholson who visited Cornwall regularly from 1923 until his death in the county in 1945. Most members had travelled a long way to the meeting and expected to see the rarities of the region. This meant visiting many of the well known areas which left little time in a short week for exploring new ground. However, all members saw plants new to them and a number of old records were refound. It was unfortunate that the strong winds should have persisted throughout the meeting, which not only dried up the mosses between the periods of rain, but caused considerable discomfort to many members.

During the meeting members were transported by private car and car owners are to be thanked for their co-operation in this. I would also like to thank those members who kindly sent me lists of species that they had seen on the meeting, from which this account has been compiled.

Jean A. Paton