Often the first thing I do on returning from a mossing trip is to give any Zygodons I have collected a shake onto a microscope slide and check the gemmae. This time the gemmae had vertical cell divisions making it Zygodon viridissimus as seems to be usual on Brighton Elm trees. On checking the leaves to see how recurved they were I noticed that some had a stout excurrent nerve so there was Zygodon stirtonii mixed up with the viridissimus; a first for me.
I had spent the morning in Withdean Woods (just in West Sussex), and had been a little disappointed in the epiphytes. The only bryophyte growing above 50cm was a patch of Metzgeria furcata on an old Ash. Lots of large felled trees had been left to rot however and they were covered in a thick carpet of Brachythecium rutabulum with scented patches of Lophocolea heterophylla. The best find in the woods was a small patch of Hennediella macrophylla, (more about this Brighton favourite in a future post) on trampled earth under a park bench.
As a lucky afterthought I checked a couple of Elm trees in Dyke Road Place before driving home. They were sparsely covered in a good variety of epiphytes including the two Zygodons