It’s lovely to botanise with other people, especially if they are more experienced than me, as I find that I learn so much more through working with others than I do when I’m out on my own. This was a very enjoyable weekend in west Cumbria.
On the Saturday the weather was foggy and it was mizzling, so we decided to be sensible and stick to obvious paths, tracks and riverbanks for our day on Lankrigg & Latterbarrow Moss, above Ennerdale Water. We were rewarded with 72 species of bryophyte including sheets and sheets of Nardia scalaris, Marsupella emarginata and Diplophyllum albicans – common species, but nice to see them flourishing in obviously very favourable habitat. Later, I found Odontoschisma sphagni and we saw Ptilidium ciliare and Riccardia chamedryfolia.
I was also pleased to see Breutelia chrysocoma, one of my personal favourite mosses of boggy flushes, and Sphagnum teres, the apricot-coloured one, an interesting moss of slightly base-enriched flushes. Species of the day was Polytrichum commune var perigoniale, a new vice-county record for Cumbria.
On Sunday we explored woodland, streams and lake margin at the western end of Ennerdale Lake, with over 100 species recorded. It really struck me how much richer the epiphyte flora is in this area compared to at home in Warrington. The trees were festooned with mosses and liverworts, especially the tiny green chains of Lejeuneaceae, even on birch which are usually bereft of interesting epiphytes. They were everywhere – the trees looked green from a distance and I thought at first that it was algae, but no – tiny chains interwoven covering the bark. Even growing on top of other liverworts! Very exciting. I’m not going to pretend that I know what all of the species were, because I don’t, but I have got some to play with and hopefully identify in due course. I think I have collected “fairy beads” Microlejeunea ulicina and here is the page from the BBS Field Guide, with scale so you can see how insanely small the plant is:
I really enjoyed the weekend; thanks to our group leaders Liz Kungu and John O’Reilly.