Observation 114156: Physcia (Schreb.) Michaux
When: 2012-10-21
(45.8068° -77.1384° 130m)
No herbarium specimen

Notes: Also growing on paper birch in Zone 14. Also has been there for years. Also shows prominent apothecia this time of year.

However, some of it has turned pink and the apothecia seem less abundant on many of the patches of it. Anyone know what might be doing that? I’ve heard that lichens are quite sensitive to environmental pollutants…

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There’s a lot going on here
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-22 01:10:48 CDT (-0400)

The broadest gray species, the one without any apothecia, is Parmelia sulcata. I’ve heard other lichenologists mention that it turns pink when it dies, too, and they “blamed it” on the salazinic acid. This turns very dark red in KOH, so maybe its possible something is turning it alkaline as it decays and therefore subtly getting some of that same K+r reaction. Or maybe one of the decay products of salazinic acid is just naturally pinkish?

The narrower-lobed gray species are Physcia aipolia (lots of apothecia, closely attached and flat up against the bark, lots of white mottling on the lobe surface if you look closely), and there are some P. adscendens present as well (same basic size, but much more three-dimensional, with long pale cilia bristling in every direction, apothecia are present but less conspicuous due to shape of thallus).

These are all three pollution-tolerant species, the Xanthomendoza and Physcia spp. especially so

Created: 2012-10-22 00:55:24 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-10-22 00:57:22 CDT (-0400)
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