Observation 113900: Peltigera neopolydactyla (Gyeln.) Gyeln.

When: 2012-10-17

Collection location: Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook Co., Oregon, USA [Click for map]

Who: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)

No specimen available

This was observed (and left) just south of Cape Lookout State Park. If you drive south of the park, past the trailhead, and reach the Boy Scout Campground at the base of the south side of Cape Lookout, this was found growing on the sand dunes just south of the Campground road, west side of the road (towards the ocean). I originally thought Lobaria pulmonaria or Lobaria linita as shown in Mosses, Lichens, Ferns of Northwest North America, by Vitt, Marxh and Bovey, p. 234-235. This observation has these small cup-shaped structures (sporangia?) along the tips of deeply ribbed and veined fronds. Individual lichens appear to cover extensive areas, sometimes 3 or more feet across. I really didn’t want to disturb them, as the sand dunes are just getting established in this area, with some tree cover to protect them. Hope the photos are good enough for Jason to identify them for me (hint, hint).


With Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) needle bunch on top of lichen. Orange cup-like structures at tips of fronds, individual fronds to 2.5 inches broad and not a solid platform like Peltigera apthosa.
Width of fingernail in photo is .75 inch (2cm) with rhizimes at least that long. Long rhizimes appear important for this area, helping to anchor the lichen in ever-shifting sand dunes.
More orange cups.
Clump of lichen approximately 2.5 feet across.
A more extensive mutliple lichen individuals taken just upslope of photo 4. This photo shows the lichens extending 3-4 feet wide, and perhaps 5 feet from bottom to top of photo.
Additional panoramic photo of clustered lichens on sand dune, helping to stabilize it. Some of these have interesting patterns of white or dark chocolate fronds. Final photo shows a white shading in close-up.
Additional panoramic photo of clustered lichens on sand dune, helping to stabilize it. Some of these have interesting patterns of white or dark chocolate fronds. Final photo shows a white shading in close-up.

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Add Comment
Interior BC being the center of the genus actually makes sense to me.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-10-19 17:31:23 PDT (-0700)

Cape Lookout is sort of the new Cape Blanco now. Lots more moisture heading this way now, that was headed for Southern Oregon. Many of the currents that brought storms into Cape Blanco before are now pointing toward Cape Lookout. One of the reasons that Cape Lookout S.P. may not be there long, as the erosion from northern storms is degrading the beaches quickly. I took photos last Wednesday where I would have been standing 30 feet inland only 4-5 years ago. On Wednesday I was 3 feet above the surf line (high tide), the erosion visibly eating away on the sandstone bedrock of the northern side of Cape Lookout. C.P. itself is basalt and andesite: much harder rock, more likely to withstand the heavy winter storms of the “Pacific” Ocean. Those of us who live near the “Pacific” don’t trust that name much. More storms means more water, but especially along the coast.

Thanks for the possible species. Will search Lichens of North America … again.

Definitely could be multiple species in the area
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-19 16:47:28 PDT (-0700)

Interior BC is the center of diversity for the genus, but they are happy throughout the Pacific Northwest. There should be several species along the Oregon coast besides the three mentioned: P. polydactylon, P. collina, P. neckeri, P. degenii, P. rufescens, P. kristinsonii, P. pacifica to mention perhaps the most common… Plus a few green species and a few of the small sorediate/isidiate ones — but they would look obviously different.

Look for tomentum (esp. near the margins), quality and color of the rhizines and veins underneath, flat versus finger-like apothecia, black versus brown apothecia, green versus gray/brown color, soredia, scabrose/roughened upper surface, highly crisped lobulate margins, margins that don’t curl down at the edges… Lots of things to look for!

I too am confused by the whitish areas.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-10-19 16:31:07 PDT (-0700)

Some specimens seemed to have none at all. But a specimen right next to them might be covered with them. Am I in such a diverse area these might be multiple species? Or might the whitish areas be caused by predation by slugs? Banana slugs are abundant in the area as well.

Rhizimes indeed dark.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-10-19 16:27:45 PDT (-0700)

They appear to turn blackish within 1/2 inch of edge of thallus, but newest/youngest rhizimes can be ashy-colored or even whitish.

I’m thinking this is Peltigera neopolydactyla
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-19 16:22:53 PDT (-0700)

I can’t quite tell from the photos if the whitish dicoloration on the upper surface is an external encrustation, or due to a thin tomentum from the lichen itself. The pattern would be a bit weird for tomentum, which is typically thickest near the growing margins and tips. Also, the rhizines are dark, even black in some cases — this is atypical for the tomentose species I’d consider: P. praetextata and P. membranacea, for example.

Created: 2012-10-19 16:11:31 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2012-10-19 16:20:30 PDT (-0700)
Viewed: 45 times, last viewed: 2018-01-24 16:52:26 PST (-0800)
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