NS3678 : A moss, with "mystery jelly"

taken 10 years ago, near to Cardross, Argyll And Bute, Great Britain

A moss, with "mystery jelly"
A moss, with "mystery jelly"
The moss is Grey-cushioned Grimmia (Grimmia pulvinata), the most common Grimmia species in Britain. Its long silvery hair-points give the cushions of moss a furry, silvery appearance; these hair-points can be as long as the leaves from which they project.

It will often be found, as it was here, on top of a wall (in this case, a dry-stone wall). Its preferred habitat is on base-rich rock. The part of the wall on which it was growing is only a few metres from a pool (see NS3678 : Pool and ruin of lime-kiln on Carman Muir, where the same wall is visible just behind the pool).

When in fruit, this species has capsules borne on long stalks (setae); however, these stalks are strongly curved when wet, so that the capsules are often partially buried among the leaves of the moss. However, the stalks become straighter with age.

As for the jelly in the image, the larger blob is 3 cm across. I put some under the microscope, but this substance was still largely a featureless gel; the few thread-like forms present appeared to be merely organic debris. This jelly is evidently not a living organism; see the link in the last paragraph for what I believe to be its origin.

As with many of the reported occurrences, this one was near a pool that is frequented by herons, and where frogspawn can be found; although there are various other natural "jellies" (for example, see LinkExternal link ), the substance shown in this photo seems very similar to the gel that surrounds frogspawn.

The jelly is sometimes found associated with clusters of tiny black rounded objects; for an example of this, see LinkExternal link
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NS3678, 130 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 27 February, 2009   (more nearby)
Saturday, 28 February, 2009
Geographical Context
Heath, Scrub 
Plant (from Tags)
Grey-Cushioned Grimmia 
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Closeup  Life 
Lichens and mosses   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3673 7843 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.2612N 4:37.0644W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3673 7843
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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