Observation 103759: Tornabenia atlantica (Ach.) Kurok.

When: 2012-08-02

Collection location: Lourinhã, Portugal [Click for map]

Who: zaca

No specimen available

Growing on shrubs on the top of a cliff over the sea.


Transversal section showing lack of central cord;
Chemical reactions.
A week later
A week later
A week later – Underside
A week later – damp
A week later – damp
A week later – CK reaction: on thallus (left) and on medulla (right).
Under UV light.
Under UV light.

Proposed Names

19% (2)
Used references: Smith et al., The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland, The British Lichen Society, 2009.
Based on chemical features: Reactions on medulla the same as on thallus (see the photo).
29% (1)
Recognized by sight
92% (2)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-09-20 14:32:49 CDT (-0400)

= Tornabea scutellifera
= Tornabenia intricata
= Anaptychia intricata

I found this name in:

Schumm, F. 2008. Flechten Madeiras, der Kanaren und Azoren. (unknown publisher)

Zaca found some good photos on-line which look very promising:

first page
second page

According to:

Nimis, P.L. & M. Tretiach. 1997. A revision of Tornabea, a genus of fruticose lichens new to North America. The Bryologist 100(2): 217-225.

The two putative species in this genus are in fact both a single variable species, with world-wide distribution in mediterranean climates: coastal northern Chile and Peru, Baja and southern California, Mediterranean, and even a few scattered locations in the Middle East and Asia Minor.

You are right,
By: zaca
2012-08-11 13:58:16 CDT (-0400)

I made a confusion between Ramalina and Usnea. The latter presents a central cord, not the former. Initially I interpreted the structures present on the branches as pseudocyphellae but at the end it seems to be soredia.
At the place of the bservation the thallus seems so different from the Ramalina spp. arround that I would never though that they belong to such genus. But, who knows?

You are right,
By: zaca
2012-08-11 13:50:27 CDT (-0400)
Okay, soredia not isidia
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-08-11 13:28:47 CDT (-0400)

That rules out Alectoria imshaugii.

I wouldn’t rule out Ramalina yet, either. The central cord you’re thinking of may be Usnea? There are definitely hollow Ramalina (R. canariensis, R. portuensis, R. fastigiata, for example). Look up the multitude of species of Ramalina found on the Canary Islands. There are many we still know nothing about.

According to Lichens of North America (Brodo, 2001), Alectoria has branches “basically round in cross section or sometimes partially flattened, angular or pitted”, the medulla is “dense or cottony” and all species have “raised, white pseudocyphellae present on the branches”. Ramalina has “more or less flattened (rarely terete) branches… solid throughout or solid close to the base”, and the cortex has two distinguishable layers of thick-walled prosoplectenchyma", often with “additional cartilage-like strands in the medulla”. Pseudocyphellae can be raised, flush, depressed or absent.

New detailed photos added.
By: zaca
2012-08-11 06:39:23 CDT (-0400)

Yes, it seems that some positive UV reaction appears.

Yes, that could be UV+
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-08-10 20:22:46 CDT (-0400)

I’m rarely confident reading UV test without a known UV+ specimen to compare with. But this looks too bright to be accidental. I think it’s the medulla you care about specifically.

Photos taken under UV light uploaded.
By: zaca
2012-08-10 20:11:23 CDT (-0400)
According to Brodo
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-08-10 18:50:06 CDT (-0400)

in Lichens of North America (2001), there is only one isidiate species of Alectoria. (He might mean that there’s only one isidiate species in North America, there’s no way to be sure.) That is A. imshaugii. It has either thamnolic acid (K+y very strong) or squamatic acid (UV+ “ice” or white, usually pretty strong, but otherwise negative across the board).

The KC and CK yellow you’re getting is not inconsistent with weak concentration of usnic acid. Diffractaic acid gives a very strong unmistakable CK+ gold to almost yellow-orange. Check it out in UV. You’re right, it does sound consistent with Alectoria.

If it really is A. imshaugii, this may be a very important record. But we need to do some more research before jumping to any conclusions.

Let me make some comments …
By: zaca
2012-08-10 18:08:24 CDT (-0400)

on the comments of Jason about this specimens. Starting with the habitat, they developed on the schrubs on a cllif over the sea together with several species of Ramalina, some Lecanora and nothing else. The place is very exposed to the natural elements, sun, wind, in such a way that when I first look at the photographs, even those that were focused (and that was really difficult) seem to have a neblina, that I conclude to be the dust acumulated on them. I thought that the photo exhibiting the lack of the central cord rule out the genus Ramalina. In addition I found no similarity with any species I ever saw from this genus. Concerning Roccela to my knowledge there are three species in Portugal: R. fuciformis, R. phycopsis and R. tictoria. The first one I posted in observation 103294, the second I found some days after and I will post it here at MO soon, and the third is very much different from these specimens. About Dendrographa I don’t know about it’s existence in Portugal and at least no mention is made about this genus, neither in the global checklis for the country nor in the partial checklists for some specific places in Portugal. All the photos I saw from species in this genus were different from my specimens So, only Alectoria is left and in spite of I didn’t find any reference to this genus in the checklist from my country the similarity with some of the species made me believe that it was the right genus of this specimens.
Today I returned to the place, took new photos, and made the missing CK test. I upload new photos with this material. The previous results of the spot tests where, in my opinion, C-, K-, KC+ pale yellow (and not KC+ gold as Jason mentioned). The CK test on thallus and on medulla that I just realized gave an expected result: CK+ yellow with some traces of red more visible on medulla (see the photos). I don’t know thw exact meaning of this, but I think that is one more point in favour of Alectoria.

I don’t think this is Alectoria ochroleuca
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-08-10 01:05:41 CDT (-0400)

That should be strictly an arctic/alpine terricolous species. Also, it has smooth branches characteristically mottled with blackened areas. Yours has isidia and/or soredia (I can’t quite make it out). I can’t read the spot tests from the photo, but based on the chemistry for A.ochroleuca, I assume you were getting K- C- KC+ gold? Did you also do the CK test? If you got CK+ strong yellow, that would certainly narrow down choices, as only diffractaic acid gives that reaction. Assuming usnic acid, I would suggest an exotic species of Ramalina instead. I’d have suggested Roccella but the chemistry must be wrong (C+ red on cortex and/or soralia). Dendrographa might be possible, but maybe doesn’t occur in southwestern Europe? Maybe there are additonal genera of fruticose fog lichens like Roccella, too. We only have Roccella and Dendrographa in California.

[EDIT: There are additional species of Alectoria as well, such as A. imshaugii which looks similar (but not nearly so densely branched), but I don’t know which species are present in Portugal, as usual!]

Created: 2012-08-03 13:52:43 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-09-20 19:14:05 CDT (-0400)
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