Recent name changes to bryophytes in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
For many years bryologists have used a standard list of names of bryophytes occurring in Britain and Ireland, originally published in the old Vice-County Census Catalogue (Hill et al. 2008). Although minor updates have occasionally been circulated, only recently has the list been fully updated to take account of the numerous recent changes in taxonomy and nomenclature. The new 2020 checklist (Blockeel et al. 2021) includes around 170 name changes, many of which result from recent molecular sequencing work and morphological studies. There have been several lumps and splits to create new species or subspecies and many species have been moved into new genera for which new names have therefore been coined. In addition, there have been some small alterations in spellings and authority names to comply with international code. Several species have also been added to the British and Irish list in recent years and are thus included in the checklist for the first time. A list of name changes affecting Hampshire and Isle of Wight taxa are tabulated below. See also the BBS website for information on recording, including access to downloads of articles and papers on identification.
The nomenclature of the new checklist follows the recently published European Red List (Hodgetts et al. 2019), with a few differences; the main one being that the authors sensibly chose to put all Bryum species under one roof, instead of dividing them into various disparate genera. Some of the changes will be welcomed by recorders, and easily implemented, e.g. some of the Polytrichastrum species return to Polytrichum; whilst Sphagnum capillifolium and S. rubellum are now treated as full species, as are Weissia angustifolia/longifolia and Zygodon viridissimus/stirtonii. Unfortunately, some of the new names are likely to cause confusion, particularly those for Barbula convoluta var. convoluta and var. sardoa, and the revisions to Ephemerum minutissimum and E. serratum.
The table below lists the 63 taxa recorded from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for which there has been change of name since the 2008 checklist or its recent unpublished revisions. The taxa comprise one newly added species to the British and Irish list (Dicranella howei); 14 species affected by nomenclatural changes (e.g. a change back to an older valid genus or species name); 7 taxa which are promoted in rank to full species; 25 taxa affected by taxonomic splits where a new genus name has been coined and 16 subject to other taxonomic changes (mostly where the taxon has been moved to a different existing genus). Further notes on some of the changes are given below the table.
|Streblotrichum convolutum var. convolutum
|Barbula convoluta var. sardoa
|Streblotrichum convolutum var. commutatum
|Ephemerum crassinervium subsp. sessile
|Gymnocolea inflata subsp. inflata
|Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum
|Phascum cuspidatum var. papillosum
|Tortula acaulon var. papillosa
|Phascum cuspidatum var. piliferum
|Tortula acaulon var. pilifera
|Polytrichum commune var. perigoniale
|Sphagnum capillifolium subsp. capillifolium
|Sphagnum capillifolium subsp. rubellum
|Syntrichia ruralis var. ruraliformis
|Weissia longifolia var. angustifolia
|Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii
1. Plants matching the Mediterranean taxon Dicranella howei had been recorded widely in the UK for several years but it is now formally added to the British list. For an account of its identification (with respect to the similar D. varia) see Blockeel (2020). It was confirmed from VC11 and VC12 in 2021.
2. It has been shown that Ephemerum serratum is the correct name for E. minutissimum, so E. serratum itself takes the earliest published name of E. stoloniferum. No doubt this will lead to confusion while the old names and new names are used together!
3. Gymnocolea inflata subsp. acutiloba has been published, though its taxonomic status is unclear according to the authors of the checklist; however, this has meant that Gymnocolea inflata subsp. inflata has been added for recording purposes.
4. Leptophascum leptophyllum has apparently reverted to an older name of Chenia leptophylla. This is the species thought to be new to science when discovered during a BBS meeting on the Isle of Wight in 1964, when originally named Tortula vectensis (see VC10 account).
5. The north American species Sphaerocarpos texanus has now been shown to be distinctly different from specimens from Europe; therefore the European entity takes the earliest published name of S. europaeus.
6. Sphagnum capillifolium subsp. capillifolium and S. capillifolium subsp. rubellum are now treated as full species.
7. Sphagnum auriculatum is an old name for S. denticulatum; the checklist does not give the reason for the change back to this name.
8. A 2018 study showed that the type material of Sphagnum magellanicum from South America was different from European material, which actually consisted of two entities, subsequently named S. divinum and S. medium. So far all plants checked in Hampshire have been S. medium, and it is likely that S. divinum has a more northerly distribution in the UK.
9. Ulota crispula and U. intermedia were added as new species after Ulota crispa was split into three species. S. crispa should now be recorded as S. crispa s.str., but inevitably many records will still have to go down as S. crispa agg. or s.lat.
Blockeel, T.L. (2020). Dicranella howei in Britain. Field Bryology 124: 16–21.
Blockeel, T.L., Bell, N.E., Hill, M.O., Hodgetts, N.G., Long, D.G., Pilkington, S.L. & Rothero, G.P. (2021). A new checklist of the bryophytes of Britain and Ireland, 2020. Journal of Bryology 43:1–51.
Hill, M.O., Blackstock, T.H., Long, D.G. & Rothero, G.P. (2008). A checklist and census catalogue of British and Irish bryophytes, updated 2008. British Bryological Society.
Hodgetts, N. et al. (94 authors) (2019). A miniature world in decline: European Red List of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts. IUCN, Brussels, Belgium.