Welsh Bristle-moss: New species found near Dryslwyn Castle
A new species of moss has been found growing on 10 maple trees in a Carmarthenshire car park, but experts are in two minds about its origins.
Welsh Bristle-moss was discovered near Dryslwyn Castle, close to Llandeilo, by the Countryside Council for Wales.
It said it might have evolved from a genetically similar moss.
But it could be an undiscovered species that was imported from the Continent on maples used to landscape the car park in the 1990s.
There are about 900 species of moss in Britain and 587 of those are found in Wales.
The Welsh Bristle-moss was discovered during a survey which is recording mosses growing on trees in south Wales.
Experts said the moss had a unique combination of distinctive traits. It differed from related mosses because of its round-tipped leaf tips and flat leaf edges.
Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) moss ecologist Sam Bosanquet, who made the new find, said: "Welsh Bristle-moss highlights the need to be ever vigilant and open-minded, even when looking at plants in mundane places like car parks.
"This is a high-point in our regular work of recording mosses which grow on trees in south Wales.
"Over the last decade, we have also discovered three mosses that had not previously been found in Wales and which are more typical of continental Europe.
Mr Bosanquet said he had been recording mosses for 15 years and had found 25 new species never before found in Wales, but which had been found in England and Scotland.
"Now that the species has been recorded, I hope that more research will determine whether the moss is extending its range to other areas of the county and beyond," said Mr Bosanquet.