We have organized a short 1-day field trip to a bryologically interesting area next to Madrid, and a more fun 3-day excursion for those willing to visit the high-summits of the Gredos Range.
The 1-day excursion will visit gypsum areas in the Aranjuez area, roughly 40 km south of Madrid. Gypsum communities in the area are surprisingly bryologically-rich, despite the harsh conditions they endure.
The 3-day field trip will be organized by Modesto Luceño, an expert in the genus Carex, who is now also working into the light side of the Force, and knows Gredos and his bryoflora like no one else.
July 13th: Peña Negra
The bus will pick up us at 8:00 at Calle Claudio Moyano 1 (the entrance to the conference meetings), and after ~3 hours we will arrive to the ‘Peña Negra’ pass. In the area are the most biodiverse mesotrophic fens and mires of the Sierra de Gredos. These support flourishing stands of Meesia triquetra, Hamatocaulis vernicosus, Tomentypnum nitens, Aulacomnium palustre, Sphagnum platyphyllum and S. subsecundum. The streams contain several species of Philonotis and Leptodictyum riparium, and the rocks are covered with Andreaea heinemannii, Grimmia montana and Racomitrium sudeticum. Noteable liverworts include the rare Riccardia incurvata, Cephaloziella hampeana, Marchantia polymorpha subspecies montivagans and several species of Calypogeia and Solenostoma. The diversity of these mires is not limited to bryophytes, since they also support the carnivorous Drosera rotundifolia, Utricularia minor and U. australis which are unusual for the high altitudes.
July 14th: Plataforma de Gredos – Km. 6 Hoyos del Espino-Plataforma road
The beginning of the route crosses N-facing damp screes and granitic walls with species such as Kiaeria blyttii, Andreaea rupestris, A. rothii subsp. rothii, Hymenoloma crispulum, Schistidium confertum, Barbilophozia hatcherii or Cephaloziella divaricata var. scabra. In the plains of the ‘Prao Puerto’ gorge there are abundant mires with Sphagnum teres, S. compactum, S. capillifolium and S. russowii, as well as several otherwise rare liverworts in the Iberian Peninsula, like Gymnocolea inflata and Cephaloziella hampeana. The middle part of the route runs through the main Gredos divide to ‘La Mira’ (2,343 m a.s.l.), from where there are spectacular views from both slopes, with the impressive Tiétar fault (2,000 m drop!) to the south. Around ‘La Mira’ peak we will see some chionophilous species, such as Andreaea heinemannii, A. alpestris and Kiaeria starkei. However, the greatest diversity of bryophytes will be found during the descent of ‘Los Conventos’ gorge. At the head of the gorge are extensive communities of Andreaea frigida, Syntrichia norvegica, Pohlia drummondii, P. cruda, Kiaeria starkei, Lescuraea incurvata, Heterocladium spp., Hygrohypnum duriusculum, H. molle, Pseudolophozia sudetica, Marsupella sphacelata, Jungermannia pumila and Solenostoma obovatum. In rivulets in the middle of the valley are big populations of Schistidium agassizii and Racomitrium hespericum and the liverworts Mesoptychia heterocolpos and Nardia geoscyphus. Finally, we will cross numerous Sphagnum mires containing typical mire mosses, like Straminergon stramineum, Sanionia uncinata and Hamatocaulis vernicosus.
A downloadable GPS track and waypoints route with more information is available at wikiloc Plataforma de Gredos-La Mira-Garganta de los Conventos
July 15th: Estación de Esquí de La Covatilla – Plataforma de Candelario “El Travieso”
In the first part of the route we will follow a path that climbs gently up to the Collado Bonal, more than 2,300 m a.s.l. On the granite blocks and walls grow interesting species such as Andreaea heinemannii, Grimmia ramondii, G. montana and Racomitrium macounii subsp. macounii, Scapania compacta, Barbilophozia hatcheri and Marsupella funcki. We will also find mires where Sphagnum teres, S. subsecundum, Aulacomnium palustre, Straminergon stramineum and Sarmentypnum exannulatum predominate, as well as springs, streams and damp meadows of Nardus stricta with abundant Philonotis tomentella, P. seriata, Polytrichastrum alpinum, Calypogeia fissa, C. azurea, Nardia scalaris, Solenostoma sphaerocarpum, Scapania undulata, Cephalozia bicuspidata and Chiloscyphus polyanthos. In areas near the divide exposed to the north, there are chionophilous communities dominated by Kiaeria starkei, Hymenoloma crispulum and Lescuraea patens.
The second part of the route goes through the main divide of the Sierra de Béjar (western Sierra de Gredos), at an average altitude of almost 2,400 m a.s.l. The profile here is very flat and rounded, exposed, sunny and dry, and consequently this section is poor in bryophytes, although we will find the common Polytrichum juniperinum, Ceratodon purpureus together with Didymodon acutus and D. luridum. This divide leads us to the headwaters of the glacial cirques of El Trampal and Hoyo Malillo which are exceptional bryologically. There are interesting chionophilous and saxicolous communities, with runoffs colonized by Andreaea nivalis, A. frigida, A. alpestris, A. heinemannii, Kiaeria starkei, Hymenoloma crispulum, Bartramia ityphylla, Bryum muehlenbeckii, Grimmia caespiticia, G. torquata, Brachythecium plumosum, Racomitrium affine, R. macounii subsp. alpinum, Lescuraea saxicola, L. patens, Ditrichum heteromallum, Rhizomnium magnifolium, Sanionia uncinata, Pohlia wahlenbergii var. glacialis, P. drumondii and P. cruda, among others. The liverworts are represented mainly by Diplophyllum taxifolium, Plagiochila porelloides, Porella cordeana, Pseudolophozia sudetica, Lophozia ventricosa, Solenostoma obovatum and Cephaloziella divaricata var. scabra.
The last part of the route goes through the so-called trail of Hoyamoros, which links the highest areas of the mountain range with ‘Plataforma de Candelario’, also called ‘El Travieso’. Along this path, in addition to several of the species cited above, we will find beautiful populations of Jungermannia exsertifolia subsp. cordifolia.
A downloadable GPS track and waypoints route with more information is available at wikiloc La Covatilla – Plataforma de Candelario