Observation 114426: Cladonia parasitica (Hoffm.) Hoffm.
When: 2012-08-17
Herbarium specimen reported

Proposed Names

47% (2)
Recognized by sight
56% (1)
Recognized by sight: isidioid structures all over

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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ID confirmed by Jim Bennett
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2014-06-23 02:42:56 BST (+0100)
Good, let’s go with C. parasitica until we know better
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-25 23:48:33 BST (+0100)
Thanks for the advice!
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-25 23:32:58 BST (+0100)

The green up on top was overwhelming my perception, you were right. On the bottom, I couldn’t find any pure white parts (my specimen ended up without real squamules, unlike some in the photo), the bottom is off-white in general, and K test showed up dirty yellowish. There is no reddish tones there at all – I can guarantee it even with my restricted color perception.

And blue eyes are rarely more than the faintest hint of blue…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-25 06:52:27 BST (+0100)

I’m totally with you on the red-heads! :)

I probably haven’t done much to straighten out the ambiguity in spot test reactions. They are tricky, what can I say? It depends on the strength of the reagent, the concentration of the acid, presence of additional substances, color of the medulla and cortex, texture, etc. etc.

But in the case of parasitica, I’ve always found it to be very strong, enough so that I usually say to myself, “wow, now that’s what I call strong K+y!” But thamnolic acid can cause a deep orange or even brownish tint after only ~30 seconds or so. And that’s pretty much what strong fumarprotocetraric acid will do, too. Fumarprotocetraric, though, is always distinctly reddish (to my eye) when in high concentration, while even the strongest thamnolic will never be more than orangish or brownish in my experience… with a deep golden undertone. Also, pay special attention to the color in the first split second: thamnolic is instantaneous, straight to deep golden egg-yolk yellow; fumarprotocetraric is just sort of dingy at first, turning brownish/reddish more gradually. You shouldn’t get any distinctly yellow stage with fumarprotocetraric. (Unless it’s got atranorin in there, too… arg! You can go crazy doing this!)

It should be best visible on the white underside of squamules. The cortex interferes with color perception due to the cortex letting variable amounts of the algal layer show through when it gets wet. (Remember the cortex becomes translucent when wet, typically.) Avoid all that if you can by applying a tiny amount to the pure snowy white bits under a few squamules, preferably under 10x-30x magnification and good light.

How golden is golden?
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-25 02:57:01 BST (+0100)

OK, it does have some reaction. One even might call it dark yellow or golden – I just don’t have enough experience to call it anything. People are frivolous with color names, I think. Why do they call some people “red-head”? Their hair color is anything but red. Likewise, the color here doesn’t look like a gold ingot, I have to tell you. What would the color be for C. coniocraea?

My first guess would be C. parasitica
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-25 01:36:10 BST (+0100)

But C. coniocraea might still be a possibility. C. parasitica should have a very strong, deep K+ golden reaction from thamnolic acid. It is characterized by these abundant isidioid granules covering everything, almost completely replacing or obscuring the finely-divided tiny squamules. When fertile, look for small little podetia covered with the same isidioid granules and usually with particularly dark to almost black apothecia at the tips.

Isidia all over
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-25 01:14:56 BST (+0100)

Basically the whole thing is isidia – or isidia-like lobules up on top. On the sides, one can see some lobules without isidia. There are some bigger lobes sticking out here and there, with soredial tips, but I think it’s a different species interfering.

Created: 2012-10-25 00:09:11 BST (+0100)
Last modified: 2012-10-25 23:49:26 BST (+0100)
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