Phascum cuspidatum var. papillosum

Range & Status

(syn. Phascum cuspidatum Hedw. subsp. papillosum (Lindb.) J.Guerra & Ros, Tortula acaulon var. papillosa (Lindb.) R.H.Zander). Poorly known; var. papillosum was for many years regarded as merely a synonym of P. cuspidatum , which is widespread over much of Europe and known also in Macaronesia, N. Africa, Asia and N. America. A revision of the genus in the Iberian Peninsula led Guerra et al . (1991) to regard var. papillosum as a valid form, with records from Spain northwards to Sweden, Scotland and Ireland. Blockeel (1995) revised the abundant material of the species in some British herbaria and was able to locate only three valid British records of var. papillosum . However, following confirmation by Mr Blockeel of a specimen collected in W. Cornwall in 1995 (Herbs. BBSUK and DTH), a total of ca. 30 other finds have been made in VC1 (more than for var. cuspidatum ), suggesting this form is frequent in the local region and hence that it is unlikely to be Nationally Rare. However, plants intermediate between var. papillosum and var. cuspidatum are common in VC1 and recorded also in VC2.

Regional Distribution

A wide scatter of records has been found in Scilly and on the mainland of VC1, but frequent occurrence of plants intermediate with var. cuspidatum has discouraged continued recording.

Habitat & Ecology

Like var. cuspidatum , it is a colonist of bare soil, found on soil-heaps, banks, tracks, paths, in a churchyard and on reclaimed mine-spoil. The species is autoicous and produces abundant sporophytes; capsules of var. papillosum are mature (at least) from November to May.

Threats

The species colonises bare soil that becomes unsuitable for it as taller plants shade the ground. Preliminary results suggest var. papillosum is common in W. Cornwall.

Conservation

None.