Photograph of Sphagnum quinquefarium - Five-ranked Bog-moss,  Capitulum




Lorn Bryophytes -  Sample Profiles



Please refer to the BBS Field Guide for detailed species information.

Click on a thumbnail to view the species profile.

Number 1

Sphagnum subnitens var. subnitens

The first in this series, this Sphagnum is located at Port Appin to the rear of the Village Hall car park.

The backdrop to the car park area is a vertical marble cliff parts of which are permanently wet from water seepage from the hill behind. Two  colonies grow there, one in the grassy and boggy ground level area between the base of the cliff and the car park surface, the other much larger one actually on the cliff itself in the wet cleft.

I miss-identified this species (first post too!) showing images from two colonies I thought were the same. With Help from Gordon Rothero and Mark Hill of the BBS, the second species has been identified as Sphagnum Quinquefarium (Five-ranked Bog-moss) (please see No. & below for details). So new images for this profile and we should now be looking good!



Tortella tortuosa

Number 2

Tortella tortuosa - common name Frizzled Crisp-moss.stone

This species is is light yellow-green in colour with the cushions that are densely packed with shoots and can be several centimetres in depth. The leaves are wavy and have involute untoothed margins. They can be easily broken and damaged and have a V shaped transition between the basal and upper cells which can be seen with a loupe when a leaf is removed.

This particular specimen was on the flat top of the stone parapet wall of the Dearn Abhaig river bridge in Gleann Salach in Barcaldine Forest, a particularly good location for both Bryophytes and Lichens.

I have included wet and dry images as this moss twists and curls up dramatically when dry, hence is common name. The field image shows the cushion reasonably well hydrated.

Number 3

Leptogium lichenoides - Tattered Jelly Skin Lichen

(included because of its proximity to 2 and 3)

I might have overlooked this Lichen in any other location. It happened to be growing down the side of a flat-topped stone bridge parapet wall and was just in front of two mosses which I sampled first (above)

On first glance it could be mistaken for jelly fungi (which part of it actually is) or as I did, a dark coloured liverwort. It would more likely be ignored completely as uninteresting.

In appearance it is a very dark brown almost black narrow mass,  its form hard to see without using a loupe. Closer inspection reveals a soft thallus of frilly fan-shaped bodies with finger-like tubular projections on each. Reasonably robust when wet if handled carefully, very brittle and fragile when dry. Often found on mossy alkaline-barked trees, occasionally on mossy rock.

Number 4

Racomitrium aciculare - Yellow Fringe-moss.

Another species from the river bridge at Gleann Salach, Lorn next to 2 and 3.

The leaves of this species are coloured olive or lemon-green in the upper regions of the branches and are darker further down the branch stem away from the light.

A pleurocarpous moss, this species is found on rocky often vertical surfaces.

You can also see the start of the lichen colony Leptogium lichenoides (above) under the edge of the R. aciculare  colony.

As you can see from the images, the wet and dry states of the plant are very different. A fairly robust species to handle but the leaves tear easily.

Racomitrium aciculare

Number 5

Rhytidiadelphus loreus - Little Shaggy Moss

This species is very common and formed the majority of a large egg-shaped cushion of moss

growing in very boggy ground in Gleann Salach, Lorn by the river bridge.

Very robust with long red stemmed shoots and branches it is found in acidic woodlands and on heath slopes. The moss has sporangia with long red-coloured seta an red capsules. Hydration and drying can result in very visible movement as the seta either dry or hydrate. They twist tightl along the length of the seta then also with each other. The actual shoots and branches change little whether dry or wet. There is a link below to a short video showing this species and other moving as the hydrate then dehydrate.

Number 6

Ptychomitrium polyphyllum - Greater Pincushion

 Growing in moderately large cushions on mostly acidic or base-rich rocks, this sample was

once again found on the stonework of the river bridge at Gleann Salach in Lorn.

This moss changes considerably in appearance when dry though not quite as visibly as some species. The sporangia remain unchanged after dehydration other than some twisting on the seta.

Capsules in p. polyphyllum are quite distinctive and often grow closely together in twos and threes from the same origin on the gametophyte.

I have included more detail on the structure of capsules for those of you who may not be aware.




Number 7

Sphagnum quinquefarium

(Five-ranked Bog-moss)

This species was originally miss-identified by me as Sphagnum subnitens var subnitens (Lustrous Bog-moss). (Please see No. 1 above, now amended).

S. Quinquefarium and S.Subnitens were growing in close proximity at Port Appin and I thought them to be the same.

Thanks to Gordon Rothero, both species have now been correctly identified by Mark Hill at the BBS and have been re-worked as new profiles from the returned samples.

S. Subnitens favours boggy, wet ground in woodland, marshes, fens or flushes and rock banks under heather, at the Port Appin it grows on boggy ground at the base of the cliff.

S. Quinquefarium likes well-drained ground and not bogs and flushes. It does like oceanic woodlands.

Its location at Port Appin is on a marble rock face which was well drained but had a continual stream of water passing down it from above.

Both look superficially similar, but the branches of S. Subnitens grow from the stem in 'fascicles' (bundles) of three.

Those of S. Quinquefarium have fascicles of 4-5 branches with leaves spreading out

S. Subnitens has leaves which appress themselves to the stem.

S. Quinquefarium has leaves in ranks of five which stick out prominently

In this profile, two of the field images for this species are from Dalrannoch Sea Life Centre car park where there is an extensive colony growing in the shaded woodlands there, actually on fairly boggy ground. These are to give some idea of colour variation in this species.

So, there you go. An enjoyable exercise in terms of identification and two common but interesting species for the price of one!

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