Saturday 1 January 2022

Wildlife Review 2021 - Plants, Mosses, Lichens & Fungi


The traditional BSBI New Year Plant hunt saw a total of 34 (10 non-native) species in flower, a couple more than 2020 but still lower than previous years. Dog-rose Rosa canina and Sweet Alison Lobularia maritima were recorded for the first time, with Sweet Violet Viola odorata and Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum also noted. Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum was previously a regular find but has not flowered for three hunts in a row. 

A total of 438 species were recorded during the year including seven species new to the Recording Area flora, five of these were non-natives including Spring Starflower Ipheion uniflorum and Water Bent Polypogon viridis as well as two species planted on site which have spread to new areas; Russian Vine Fallopia baldschuanica and Mediterranean Spurge Euphorbia characias

Spring Starflower - Kevin Rylands

The two new native species were Giant Horsetail Equisetum telmateia and the dandelion Taraxacum degelii, the first south Devon record for this rare coastal endemic.

Giant Horsetail - Phil Pullen

Four species were rediscovered for the first time in over 30 years; Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea, Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma, Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis and Plum Prunus domestica. Another four appeared for the first time in over 20 years; Dodder Cuscuta epithymum, Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissolia, Long-headed Poppy Papaver dubium and Spear Mint Mentha spicata. Five of these species appeared after mowing changes following Recording Group advice to the Warren Golf Club.

Dodder - Kevin Rylands

Other notable records included an extensive new population of Mossy Stonecrop Crassula tillea on the Golf Course, another good year for Sand Crocus Romulea columnae, with the 2022 plants in leaf in November, their earliest ever emergence, Small Pondweed Potamogeton berchtoldii in several Golf Course ponds, a good show of Small Adder’s-tongue Ophioglossum azoricum in Greenland Lake and three tideline Sunflower Helianthus annuus.

Small Adder's-tongue - Matthew Knott 

The dry conditions during spring saw many of the clovers struggle to flower, but a spell of wet weather in late April led to a second flush of growth for some species such as Bird's-foot Ornithopus perpusillus, Subterranean Trifolium subterraneum and Bird's-foot Clover T.ornithopodioides.

Bird's-foot - Matt Knott

The spring weather also meant Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum and the regular Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio did not flower and only a single Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis emerged on Warren Point. 

Pyramidal Orchid - Alan Keatley

In wetter areas, Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria, Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa and Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris did well, with the latter still flowering in November, outlasting the Autumn Ladies-tresses Spiranthes spiralis. At the eastern end of Greenland Lake, the Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera colony increased.

Dawlish Warren Flora 

Mosses & Liverworts

Both Micheli's Balloonwort Sphaerocarpos michelii and Blue Crystalwort Riccia crystallina were found in new locations around the car park and Go-karts. The Recording Area is one of two Devon locations for these nationally rare liverworts, with the other just the mainland side of the Railway Tunnel, there the populations remain in decline.

Fairy Beads Microlejeunea ulicina was discovered on sallows in the Entrance Bushes, the only new species of the year. 


At total of 71 species were noted, with 15 new to the Recording Area. These included the nationally scarce Catillaria nigroclavata, Diploschistes caesioplumbeus and Moelleropsis nebulosi, along with Normandina pulchella (Elf's Ears), Peltigera rufescens and Stenocybe pullulata (Alder Pin).

Increased erosion of the fixed dunes on Warren Point led to further losses of the nationally scarce Peltigera neckeri however a new population was found on the Dune Ridge near the Main Pond.


Of the 198 species recorded, 46 were new for the Recording Area taking the site total to over 700 species, but with 20,000 in the UK there are many more to be found.

Collared Earthstar - Kevin Rylands

New fungi recorded during the year included only the fourth English record of Nectriopsis lecanodes on Peltigera lichen and the first Devon records of Grape Hyacinth Anther Smut Antherospora hortensis and Tuberculina sbrozzii on Periwinkle Rust Puccinia vincae. Other new Warren species included Alder Tongue Taphrina alni, a gall on Alder catkins; Blushing Milkcap Lactarius controversus, Redleg Club Typhula erythropus, Rush Disco Dasyscyphus apalus and Yellow Stainer Agaricus xanthodermus

Other records included Birch Knight Tricholoma fulvum, Cloudy Agaric Clitocybe nebularisCreamy Pinkgill Entoloma sericellum and Drab Bonnet Mycena aetites, with showier species such as Collared Earthstar Geastrum triplex, Eyelash Cup Scutellinia scutellata and Scarlet Elfcup Sarcoscypha coccinea

Eyelash Cup - Kevin Rylands

A much improved showing of Blackening Waxcap Hygrocybe conica in Greenland Lake but again no Winter Stalk Puffball Tulostoma brumale.  On a positive note the first Dune Stinkhorn Phallus hadriani for several years was along the Dune Ridge, with Dune Brittlestem Psathyrella ammophila and Dune Conecap Conocybe dunensis.

Dune Brittlestem - Kevin Rylands

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