Can you please post photographs of (1) the whole leaf showing the shape where the leaf to see where it is widest (2) a close up of the leaf edge (B.donianum has a thicked border) (3) the moss from a further distance away then the first photograph - to get an idea of the size (4) where was it found? garigue/shaded/ locality? (4) what happens to the plant when it dries : does it become spirally twisted? (to rule out B. torquescens and B. capillare)
In the meantime here is some more information:
It was found lying on Coraline Limestone in a partially shaded area (more shaded than exposed), sheltered by Olive trees and high level of moisture due the presence of dense undergrowth vegetation under the trees namely Smyrnium olusatum (karfus il-Hmir / Alexanders)
The capsules are in the range of (4) 5-6mm long and the seta 20-30mm long. The specimens were lax to each other (not compact) but of course touching and overlapping each other. The diameter of the whorl of leaves (from above) is about 8mm - 10mm (for the larger specimens). Larger leaves 3-mm long. When dry, the leaves become erect and patent to the stem (not to the extent of appressd) though I cannot say that they are spirally arranged. The colour is medium-dark brown (not beige, not very dark).
I am saying all this becasue I have saved the tuft for these 2 weeks. I am not sure if the specimens are dead because they dried, or becasue they did not ike tap water. The capsules did not dehisce and cannot say anything about the sores and peristome.
One problem for this identification was in fact if the border was thick. The image under microscope gae the impresion of a thick margin, but that could be an optical illusion, because the margin is slightly twisted.
I do not think that the it is the B. capillare complex as the leaf apex was not abruptly contracted to a piliferous point, but we better check the photos.
MORE ANSWERS TO FOLLOW
Now I should have replied questions 1,2,3 in this post and 3,4 in the previous.
In my little knowledge, I do not think it is B. capillare group. At first I tghought about B. intermedium because of the 'dark' margin, but as i said that could be jut a revoluted margin, and actually it is not distinct (though I do not know how a distinct margin looks like!)
F'idejk Sherlock holmes!
- Another photo of an entire leaf. Sorry for the dirty photos!
- Bryum4.jpg (199.95KiB)Viewed 48879 times
- Apical part of Lamina
- Bryum5.jpg (187.64KiB)Viewed 48879 times
- Apical part of lamina
- Bryum3.jpg (210.24KiB)Viewed 48879 times
- Leaves showing a fairly long costa and dark margin, but is that becasue leaf margin is slightly curved?
- Bryum2.jpg (243.86KiB)Viewed 48879 times
- Habit, translocated in a sunny position for a good photo
- Bryum1.jpg (176.18KiB)Viewed 48879 times
2) The size of the leaves are also larger than in B. caespiticium. The habit is also very different (I shall place a photo here)
3) The shape of the leaves is not the same as in B. caespiticium in which the widest part is below the middle.
Bryum donianum is "readily recognisable by the leaves usually widest above the middle and with a stout border confluent with the stout shortly excurrent nerve. It does not have spirally twisting leaves when dry"
The border is composed of long cells. If it was simply recurved the shape of the cells near the edge would be the same as the rest of the lamina. In this case I can clearly see a (typically yellowish) border of long cells. However to confirm Bryum donianum you need to try to see if the border is composed of more than one layer of cells. I am quite confident that you will.
Watching those 2 pics, they are so different and for sure 'my' plants look almost the same as B. donianum as you suggested, but an automatic question comes in mind - if they are so different, why the keys uses microscopic and ambiguous characters like the margin of the leaf to distinguish the two, if there are more obvious macroscopic distinguishable features!
I have not visited the population to check again the margins on fresh specimens, but the photos you posted leave (almost?) no doubt.
Well, is doniamum frequent in Malta?
I thought it would be easy for an expert to recognise what it is given that it is so different from the usual Bryum species in Malta but I had to send it to him anyway for identification (if possible? without any reproductive structures).
The shape of mosses can change greatly if they grow in different environments. It is only the microscopic structure which remains the same. An extreme example of this is the Bryum pseudotriquetrum found growing submerged under ice in antartic lakes. (http://polaris.nipr.ac.jp/~penguin/pola ... -Kanda.pdf) The only way they could have identified it was under the microscope.
With your Bryum, although the plant is arguably not B. caespiticium the only way to make sure that it is B. donianum would be to show that it has a border made up of more than one layer of cells.
B. donianum is a frequent moss in Malta. This is why I suspected that you had found this plant.
I have fresh material, which probably will remove many doubts. I have photos of the habit, habitat, dry leaves and magnified image of the leaves in situ. The latter show a kind of yellowish thivk border (but sometimes, I am not sure if I am actually seeing it or immagining it!)
The population was a casual find, so I dont expect to find anything special, but its nice to break of from vascular plants!
Yes, mosses are hard bone - good that there are less than 200 species to fiddle with! The are very challenging and keep you awake till late night! Hope your Bryum turns out something important - why dont you wait for the sexual parts to make life easier?
So to recapitulate would you put a stone on this as B. donianum or not fully convinced?
- Magnified image at an angle showing that the margin is not revolute, but there is a kind of border.
- Bryum_don1.jpg (111.34KiB)Viewed 48864 times
- Dry leaves go like this
- Bryum_don2.jpg (170.27KiB)Viewed 48864 times
- Leaves, at a certain angle with incident light, they appera to have a distinct chorine-green border. Leaves at other orientation seems to be without a distinct border.
- Bryum_don3.jpg (99.4KiB)Viewed 48864 times
- Habitat and habit
- Bryum_don4.jpg (202.28KiB)Viewed 48864 times
1) does not twist when dry
2) has a thick yellowish border
It has to be Bryum donianum according to my keys.
Yes bryophytes are interesting and can occasionally offer a nice surprise in new discoveries. I had 2 new species for Malta confirmed this week by my Spanish mentor. Quite exciting as you can imagine.
I am also convinced about B. donianum.
Mosses are not well studied and the hard work and eye straining are likely to be rewarded by excellent discoveries like yours. Keep it up and well done.
If you need some 'professional' (kind of!) photos I do them for you with all pleasure.
I have collected 4 random mosses from mgarr ix-xini but i did not have time to analyse. One is a liverwort actually. I am preparing for a botanical trip to Sicily.
1) Barbula bolleana (recorded once as Trichostomum ehrenbergii from Mtahleb pre 1907) http://bdb.cma.gva.es/ficha.asp?id=17663
2) Bryum pseudotriquetreum (recorded once as B. bimum from Wied Balluta in the mid 1800s) http://www.bbsfieldguide.org.uk/content ... triquetrum
I have searched in vain for these species in Malta. I have non-Mediterranean types of both species but would love to compare growth characteristics with forms from the Mediterranean.
Have a great trip
I have neglected mosses, ferns and fauna completely, and still working through my photo load of plants.