Nine members plus families and several German bryologists accepted Professor Duell’s invitation to join the excursion in the Bavarian Alps, and included Dana Bergstrom (Australia) George Bloom and wife, Joan Gutteridge and husband, Martin Godfrey, Barbara Murray (Alaska), Brian O’Shea, Roy Perry and family, Michael Proctor and John Port.
28 July. The party was very efficiently gathered up by Dr Duell and Roy, from various flights into Munich, and transferred to the hotel at Lenggries, an hour or so to the south, and at a height of about 700m. After a meal, no time was lost getting into the field, and the afternoon was spent in a pleasant amble up a side valley out of the village, past trees bearing a good growth of fruiting Orthotrichum obtusifolium.
29 July. The local geology is almost entirely limestone, though the leaching effect of a mountain climate with high rainfall is very evident in the forest flora, rich in familiar acid-woodland species. On Monday morning a visit had been arranged to the nearby Arzbach valley, where it was pointed out that much of what had been dismissed as Eurhynchium striatum was in fact E. angustirete. Antitrichia curtipendula was frequent, and others such as Lescuraea plicata, Pterigynandrum filiforme, Moerckia hibernica, Tayloria serrata, Paraleucobryum longifolium, Bazzania flaccida and Bryum schleicheri var. latifolium were seen. One plant of Buxbaumia viridis was on the trunk of a trackside tree, but collection was forbidden, so this is evidently a rarity. An introduction was also made to two non-British species, Brotherella lorentziana (Sematophyllaceae) and a conspicuous yellow-green Barbula, B. crocea.
Fine shows of Campanula cochlearifolia and C. scheuchzeri diverted attention from bryophytes, and for those of more sinister intent, Atropa belladonna was available, though not yet in berry.
30 July. The following day’s choice of another valley, the Steinbachtal, SE of Bad Tölz, was dictated by the weather, which threatened rain. The flora here reconfirmed the basic nature of the area with Scapania aequiloba, Isopterygiopsis muelleriana, Orthothecium intricatum, and Schistidium trichodon on limestone boulders. The beautiful Ptilium crista-castrensis was plentiful under foot and Ptilidium pulcherrimum was found on a conifer.
31 July. Wednesday morning looked more hopeful, but by the time the cable-car reached the top of Lenggries’ local mountain, the Brauneck, at 1500m, the clouds had gathered and a sudden storm later in the morning had the party rapidly struggling into waterproofs. This is the zone of the high alpines including Lescuraea incurvata, Tayloria serrata, T. froehlichiana, Geheebia gigantea, Campylopus schimperi, Brachythecium reflexurn, Campylium halleri, Cratoneuron decipiens, and the red hair- pointed Tortula, T. norvegica.
The flowering plants were again a distraction with Aster alpinus, Dryas octopetala and Pinguicula alpina particularly in evidence, and the character separating Gentiana pannonica from G. purpurea was examined at length to produce a verdict in favour of the former.
1 Aug. Next day’s visit to the Kreuzeck, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, involved a long winding route for the drivers. By cable car again, this time up to 1700m – not for us to be trusted in the helicopter ferrying loads of beer up to the cafe at the upper station. The memorable finds included Ctenidium procerrimum, Cirriphyllum cirrosum, Hypnum bambergeri, Pohlia wahlenbergii var. glacialis, and Polytrichum longisetum, besides Marchantia alpestris. Again the alpine flora was in good flower, with Campanula barbata, Gentiana bavarica, Tozzia alpina, and the orange form of Saxifraga aizoides.
A return to valley level brought a complete change of habitat, to an area of boulder-strewn woodland by the Eibsee where the noteworthy species included Anastrophyllum michauxii, A. hellerianum, Bartramia halleriana, Mylia taylori, Sphenolobus minutus, and two Bazzanias, B. trilobata and B. tricrenata, both abundant. All were in fine condition following a lunch-time downpour.
2 Aug. On Friday the day was divided between two sharply contrasting venues. In the morning, a National Nature Reserve, the Sindelsbachfilz, a large area of calcareous fen where among other Sphagna, S. magellanicum, was conspicuous, and Polytrichum strictum and Dicranum undulatum were to be seen in quantity. Here too the sundews, Drosera rotundifolia and D. obovata, were both closely examined.
After lunch it was off to a different Steinbachtal, E. of Bichi, different too in flora. A wooded valley where the first group of trees examined yielded Anomodon longifolius and A. attenuatus, Amblystegium subtile c.fr., Pseudoleskeella nervosa and generously fruiting Leucodon sciuroides on an elm. Later Dicranum viride and Frullania jackii were recorded, the latter having underleaves reminiscent of Calypogeia neesiana. Other notable finds included Encalypta streptocarpa with sporophytes and Entodon schleicheri.
3 Aug. By popular request, the final day in the field demanded a return to the Brauneck. A wider ranging route was followed, to Hinterer-Kirchstein and Propstenwand, and ended by a return via the Arzbach valley, where our drivers were waiting. Many plants seen had been met earlier in the week, for example Hylocomium pyrenaicum, Meesia uliginosa and Cololejeunea calcarea, but there were new finds, including Mnium thomsonii, Myurella Julacea, Cirriphyllum tenuinerve and Paraleucobryum sauteri. The sight of Michael stalking mountain goats for a photographic close-up will be long remembered. The long day provided a fitting close to a meeting much enjoyed by both German and ‘British’ sections of the group.
Thanks must go first to Professor Duell and our German hosts for the first class arrangements made on our behalf; to our hard-worked drivers; and by no means least to Roy for his handling of the British end of the organisation.