Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust

Promoting the British Countryside


About us Conservation Education Wildlife Habitats Maps Search Resources Sponsors



Woodland Restoration Project

Several mosses were found on the project site. The most common moss was Hypnum cupressiforme var. cupressiforme. This moss occurred throughout the site, together with Hypnum andoi. Both species grew extensively on the trunks of rhododendron (Plate 11) in square 4 and to a much lesser extent in squares 1 and 2 . These mosses were found mainly on the horizontally growing stems of the rhododendron, rarely on more vertical stems. This is likely to be related to the need of the mosses to trap all available light. They were abundant in square 4, presumably because of the more open nature of the undergrowth (Plate 12) and the higher light levels (Fig.9).


wpe11.jpg (15685 bytes)

Plate 11. Hypnum on rhododendron

wpe10.jpg (24520 bytes)

Plate 12. Rhododendron in Square 4


Hypnum was rare on the rhododendron trunks in squares 1 and 2 (Note its absence in Figs. 6 and 7). Its distribution tended to be confined to trunks adjacent to larger deciduous trees such as oaks. Again it is likely that this is related to light levels. Few of the rhododendron trunks in square 1 grew horizontally, which may also have been a limiting factor. Where these mosses grow on the trunks, they provide oases for small invertebrates within the otherwise inhospitable habitat. The mosses contained small communities of collembola, mites, spiders and tipulid (crane-fly) larvae.

Removal of the rhododendron does not result in the elimination of these mosses. Hypnum cupressiforme var. cupressiforme occurred with 100% frequency in square 3 in the ground layer (Table 2). It covered substantial areas of the ground (Table 2). Hypnum andoi was less common in this habitat (Table 2), because it tends to be more confined to the trunks of trees.

Higher light levels (Fig.9) have also allowed several other species of moss to begin to colonise the woodland floor in square 3 (Table 2).