Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Saturday 6 September 2014

Garth Hill - bryophytes and other wildlife

There is very little in the way of natural rock exposure in the Cardiff area. One of the best examples is at the eastern end of Garth Hill, where there are some attractive sandstone outcrops.

Last weekend I took a brief stroll up the Garth to have a poke around these outcrops for bryophytes. Before I even got to the hill, I stepped on a patch of Common Crystalwort (Riccia sorocarpa) rosettes, which were abundant in the car parking lay-by.
Riccia sorocarpa (click to enlarge)

The outcrops themselves support a nice bryophyte flora including several species typical of dry acidic rocks and the thin soil surrounding them, such as Bristly Haircap (Polytrichum piliferum) and Juniper Haircap (P. juniperinum), Bristly Fringe-moss (Racomitrium heterostichum), Hair-pointed Grimmia (Grimmia trichophylla) and the rather distinctive liverwort Ciliated Fringewort (Ptilidium ciliare).

Polytrichum juniperinum

Ptilidium ciliare
There were also several Bloody-nosed Beetles feeding on Heath Bedstraw, and the much smaller Sermylassa halensis (recently reported by Mark Evans on this blog) on the same plant.

Bloody-nosed Beetle and Sermylassa halensis
Two peacock butterflies roosting (or hibernating?) under a small rock overhang was a nice surprise.
Roosting Peacocks (just visible behind cobwebs)

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