28 March 2011

Wet heath at Fairwood Common

Wet heath is an important part of the habitat mosaic at Fairwood Common and last week I came across a few patches of Compact Bog-moss (Sphagnum compactum) in one of the mechanically managed areas. This species is listed as 'very rare' [in Glamorgan] by Perry in the Flora of Glamorgan, 1994, who identifies only two sites, although I know it has been discovered elsewhere since publication.
Compact Bog-moss & shoots of Bog-moss Flapwort
Growing in and on the Sphagnum cushion I noticed a leafy liverwort (the reddish shoots shown above) and with assistance from Sam Bosanquet, I was able to identify it as Bog-moss Flapwort (Odontoschisma sphagni), another species listed by Perry as 'rare' in Glamorgan. It is likely however, that this diminutive species is under-recorded and further searching will reveal its presence at similar sites elsewhere in the county.

A much more conspicuous component of wet heaths is the Hare's-tail Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum), which was just starting to flower (the white 'cottony' seeds develop later).
Hare's-tail Cottongrass

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