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Mosses at Greenham Common – 4 March 2023

Sean O’Leary led a well-attended walk to look at mosses on the afternoon of Saturday 4 March, starting from the Control Centre at Greenham Common. Our last few moss walks have had some very cold weather, and our visit to Greenham Common proved no exception. Sensibly therefore, we started proceedings in the small woodland near the Control Centre car park where we could shelter a little and look for epiphytic bryophytes on tree trunks and branches. Typical species of such habitat were in evidence, such as Orthotrichum affine, Cryphaea heteromalla (with nice capsules), Hypnum resupinatum and cupressiforme, together with the liverwort Frullania dilatata.

Now battle-hardened, the troops set forth into open ground towards the wetter areas near the ponds not far away.  This was harder work, as the grazed turf required hands and knees searching to yield its treasures. 

Greenham Common is an unusual habitat as there is much introduced calcareous stone on what might be expected to be acid ground. Plants such as Cratoneuron filicinum, Drepanocladus aduncus, Calliergonella cuspidata and Didymodon fallax were present, not far from gorse bushes.  Generalists such as Bryum dichotomum with tiny bulbils in the leaf axils, Brachythecium rutabulum and Pseudoscleropodium purum were also present.

The traditional slice of muesli crunch awaited those who stayed until the ‘bitter’ (temperature!) end. Many thanks to Louise as usual for providing that!

Report by Sean O’Leary

Pictures by Fiona Brown