Sphagnum on the Migneint with North Wales Plant Group

Confession time: the weather was so rotten we actually decided to skip the Migneint and look at the field behind Lucia’s house instead 😉  To be fair, it was blowing a hoolie and there was some doubt about whether we’d actually remain upright if we ventured onto the moor.  This proved to be a good decision as a short excursion into the field produced six definitely different species of Sphagnum plus some slightly dubious specimens to poke under the microscope later.We sat down at the dining room table to eat lunch – such luxury ! – then Lucia readied the microscope to inspect our specimens.  Sphagnum palustre/papillosum was a particular target for the day, as this pair of species can look rather similar in certain situations.  The only way to be sure is to look at the leaf cell walls – bumpy, papillate cell walls mean Sphagnum papillosum and smooth cell walls mean Sphagnum palustre.  We found we had both, which was nice to see side-by-side.  Another iffy-looking sample proved to be a brown form of Sphagnum subnitens, which apparently is allowed, according to the book, despite this species usually being brick-red.  Good to know.

Not bad for a random sheep field.  Thanks to Lucia for her hospitality.

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