Taxonomic workshop 1977: Oxford

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19 November 1977 - 22 November 1977

Workshop report

The fourth Taxonomic Workshop was held in the University Department of Botany in Oxford on Saturday 19 November, 1977. About 28 members attended. In the morning Dr H. L. K. Whitehouse talked on ‘Rhizoidal Gemmae and Tubers’ of mosses; with the aid of colour photographs and drawings he demonstrated the diversity of form which may exist within a family and the value of rhizoidal gemmae as specific characters. In the afternoon Martin Corley talked on the identification of the British species of Campylopus and species of Dicranodontium, Dicranum and Ditrichum which might be confused with Campylopus; he stressed the critical features in the nerve- section, shape of leaf and areolation.

In the evening members gathered for a conversazione. The early bryological collections in the University Herbarium were illustrated by sheets from Dillenius’ and Morison’s Herbaria relating to the fragrant ‘moss’ (Chiloscyphus pallescens) which had long been known from St Winifred’s Well at Holywell, Flintshire (see Grolle, Transactions of the British Bryological Society 5, p. 766 for a discussion of the taxonomic significance of these specimens). Boswell’s Herbarium, built up during the second half of the 19th C. was illustrated by specimens of the first English gatherings of Dicranum strictum (1864) , D. montanum (1669), D. flagellare (1874) and D. polysetum (1887), and by Boswell’s annotated copy of Wilson’s Bryologia Britannica.

We are deeply indebted to Professor F.R. Whatley for permission to use the laboratory, to Dr S.C. Watkinson for acting as local secretary, and to Dr Whitehouse and Mr Corley for giving up their weekend to come and teach us.

On Sunday 20 November we enjoyed perfect weather in Wytham Wood (the property of the University) by kind permission of the University Land Agent and, in the afternoon, on White Horse Hill. In Wytham Wood Platygyrium repens proved to be abundant and in fine condition, densely covered with deciduous branchlets; it has certainly increased considerably in abundance since it was first discovered there. Dicranum strictum was seen, as small cushions, on several bushes; this also is clearly increasing in frequency in the wood. On White Horse Hill it was too early to find sporangia of Weissia sterilis though the plants were found. Pottia caespitosa had young sporangia which were much less mature than they have been at this season in some years.

E. W. Jones