Monday, January 2, 2012


In winter, it's the smaller things that tend to capture your attention on country walks - like, for example, this miniature garden of mosses, lichens and fungi growing on top of a drystone wall at Stanhope in Weardale. In the space of a few square inches there are toadstools (haven't identified the species yet - can anyone help me out with some suggestions?); at least four species of moss; at least three species of lichen. If you really got to work with a hand lens I suspect you could probably double the biodiversity count for this tiny patch .......... and if you resorted to using a microscope, who knows how many! Below are two of the larger ones that I think I can identify.....

This (I think) is an Orthotrichum species although I'm not certain yet which one..... most probably O.anomalum.

..... and his, with the distinctive hair-point extensions to the leaves and capsules that curl downwards into the moss cushion, is Grimmia pulvinata (with another moss on either side of it and Orthotrichum anomalum at the top and bottom).

It's a long time since I last tried to identify moss species.....................


  1. I too love this miniature world. Little fungi, Moss and lichen. No good asking me what they are...they are just wonderful. I rely on you lot to tell me.

  2. Beautiful mosses, Phil. I'll look out for those.
    As for the toadstool, if there's a Small Toffee, that might be it.

  3. OK Adrian, back to the books then....

  4. If there isn't a Small Toffee rob, there shold be.....

  5. I came across a similar fungi growing in moss on Oldgate bridge at Morpeth a few weeks ago. I thought it may be a Gallerina species possibly G miniophila. Worth a google, Roger Phillips has a convincing photo on page 228 in his book of Mushrooms.

  6. Thanks Nigel, much appreciated, I think you're right about it being a Galerina. I also had a look in the recent Collins Guide and there's a G. hypnorum that looks very similar - especially wrt the striations on the cap. I wish I'd collected a specimen .....