Monday, February 12, 2007

Pointed spear-moss (Calliergonella cuspidata)

These moss shoots are the first species I have added to the overall tally for the project in 2007. I spotted them through close-focus binoculars on the more or less bare ground of Great Plantain Desert.

I have come across pointed spear-moss quite often in the neighbourhood, but it seems normally to prefer rather wetter places than the Emthree project. However, it now joins list of plants recorded that are said to prefer moister soils: square-stalked St. John's-wort, gipsywort, marsh thistle, greater bird's-foot trefoil. All of these grow well in quite dry, or even very dry, places in Emthree and/or The Waste. Maybe they can grow almost anywhere and simply have a better ability than some to cope with wetter soils and are normally out-competed on drier ones.

The pointed leading shoot is very distinctive and it is often quite easy to pick out the moss while walking along.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rosette life v.2

After some recent frosts it has rained heavily enough to fill the 'pond' at the western end of Troy Track.

It is quite rare for water to stay about for so long on our free draining soil, but the ground is waterlogged now and the hosepipe ban has been recently lifted. Compare the shot above with the one taken on 2 February.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rosette life

The rosettes above are all of wintergreen plants that have developed since late summer on the south facing bank of the still empty pondlet I have dug at the end of Troy Track.

On the left there are two smooth hawksbeards (Crepis capillaris), then - I think - a smooth sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) with a marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) on the right.

The leaves clearly have a tendency to push themselves flat against the substrate, presumably to get the maximum sunlight, and I vaguely wondered why the lower leaves do not stand out at right angles from the vertical; did not, as it were try to make a right angle with gravity. I must try to see what happens on a north slope.