These are the fruiting bodies of a moss.
Mosses are non-flowering plants that usually grow in damp or shady places. The moss in this picture, though, was growing at the top of the trunk of the big willow pollard by the path beside the Lambrok tributary.
Mosses do not produce seeds, instead they produce spores. The spores form in fruiting bodies called sporangia: capsules held above the plant on a slender stalk.
Most mosses rely on the wind to disperse their spores but almost all species of sphagnum moss project their spores into the air with an explosion of compressed air from the capsule: jet propulsion!
These are fascinating plants and if there is anybody out there who can help us identify the mosses that grow in the park, please contact us.
mosses grow in damp and shady places
Pictures by Suzanne Humphries