Notes: This can be the juvenile and non-fertile version of observation 102735. It was found about 500 meters from that one. Again the upper surface of thallus is completely (dark) gray with no trace of green.
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I’ll do my best.
I have particular trouble with Cladonia – especially sterile ones – by the sea and in the alpine. It’s a hard enough genus as it is when you’re seeing “typical” material. Let an extreme environment distort it all to hell, and all bets are off. If only chemistry were more discriminating in this genus. It certainly helps, but there are tons of species with fumarprotocetraric major that are indistinguishable chemically with just the standard spot tests. You might have to go back to this place and comb the entire area to find a single specimen with a few podetia (if you’re lucky!), only then can you apply a tentative name to all the sterile material.
based on the similarity of the squamules and the gray color (that I never saw and may be caused by exposure ) of the specimens in the two observations (this one and observation 102735) but the chemistry seems to be different, this one having fumarprotocetraric acid as major.
In strong sun (like this specimen) it is usually high concentration, resulting in a strongly reddish-brown. True norstictic acid is clear bright color somewhere between yellow and orange and red. Fumarprotocetraric is anywhere from dingy faint brownish to dark red-brown, but always sort of muddy.
Incidentally, a good test to verify norstictic acid, even in fairly low concentration, is to squash a piece in K on a microscope slide and look at it at 400-1000×. It should produce a shower of tiny red needle- to star-shaped crystals. Particularly visible in cross-polarized light, but easily visible even in normal light, as well.
the chemical tests but the result (for me) is not conclusive. I explain, the C reaction is clearly negative. But the K reaction results in a misture of yellow, red and brown and the KC is not distinguishable from the K reaction. In the meantime, the natural light disappeared and it was not possible to repeat. I upload a (bad) photo with the K test.
I’ve posted two observations with large squamules with K+ yellow to red reaction, too. I’ve been calling them C. symphicarpia. Since we actually have keys specializing in sterile Cladonia in eastern North America(!), they actually have a reasonable chance of being correct. :)
[Edit: Okay, I just got K+y on the Black Hills specimen, so I’m just guessing there…]
Created: 2012-07-26 18:23:46 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-07-26 18:23:48 CDT (-0400)
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