26 November 2012

Juniper, Butcher's Broom and a very small moss

cliffs between Horton and Slade where Juniper,
Butcher's Broom and Starke's Pottia grows
South Gower is the only place in Wales where Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) [below left] is considered to be native. In addition to being found in woodlands such as at Nicholaston, it also grows on the cliffs and there is a good population to the west of Slade. Click here to see the rather odd flower and fruit of this species.
Butcher's Broom
Our native Juniper (Juniperus communis) [flat bush on ledge, above right] is also restricted in Glamorgan to the south Gower cliffs, growing prostrate on exposed rock ledges where it avoids fires - unlike Gorse once burned it does not regenerate.

In the same habitat the tiny Starke's Pottia (Microbryum starckeanum) was found fruiting this weekend. This is an uncommon species that likes thin lime-rich soils and the height of these plants, including capsules, is less than 5mm. Note the tiny basal rosette of leaves are mostly hidden by the leaves of larger species in the photo below.

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