Observation 130051: Aspicilia cinerea (L.) Körber
When: 2013-03-09
0 Sequences

On Si rock (conglomerate) in open coniferous forest. Very common east side Cascades according to McCune – Miscellaneous Keys to Microlichens of the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Interesting that different references vary in almost every detail. E.g. Owe-Larsson has thallus “gray to white-gray or almost white, sometimes with a yellowish tinge” while Thompson has it as “ashy gray, but sometimes stained rusty” and Brodo has “very pale to rather dark greenish-gray or chalky white” ; Smith et al. has “prothallus black, delimiting” while Owe-Larsson has it “often absent, when present found in parts along the thallus edge as a narrow dark zone, rarely fimbriate, black to blue-black or brown-black”; etc.

Brodo says "In North America, several species that contain norstictic acid but differ in thallus color and development as well as substrate type can be found in museums filed under “A. cinerea,”" Smith et al. says “Because of variations in colour and roughness of the areoles it is likely that several described species are included here.” Thompson says “There may be several entities within this broad concept of the species…”

With respect to thallus thickness and texture which are considered important in determination of species, those characteristics vary abruptly and considerably within some of my specimens.


note Aspicilia overgrowing Phaeophyscia at lower center right (close up in next photo)
Aspicilia overgrowing Phaeophyscia
both sides in H2O, polarized on right
KOH on left, H2O polarized on right
note zonate margin (close up next photo)
zonate margin, common in Aspicilia but apparently not in A. cinerea
also from the same outcrop

Proposed Names

83% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Used references: B. Owe-Larsson, A. Nordin and L. Tibell in Nash III, T.H., Gries, C. and Bungartzk, F. (eds.) (2007) Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region, Volume 3; Smith, C.W., Aptroot, A., Coppins, B.J., Fletcher, A., Gilbert, O.L., James, P.W. and Wolseley, P.A. (2009) The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland; Brodo, Irwin M., Sharnoff, Sylvia Duran and Sharnoff, Stephen (2001) Lichens of North America; Thomson, J.W. (1997) American Arctic Lichens, 2. The Microlichens
Based on microscopic features: see photos; hymenium 75u; moniliform paraphyses; no spores found
Based on chemical features: cortex K+deep orange (wouldn’t call it red); apo sxn with KOH produce red crystals ( salt of norstictic acid)

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
And another Bruce had something more choice to say about Aspicilia
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2013-03-20 16:16:56 PDT (-0700)

Bruce Ryan, that is. Something along the lines of it be the absolutely worst genus he’d ever had the misfortune to study. :)

Owe-Larsson et al. 2007 in Sonoran Flora rely heavily on combo of ascospore and conidia size, chemistry, number of swollen apical cells on paraphyses to delimit species. I don’t believe this concept has been applied to northern species(?) It would seem that this would be an important first step. but ultimately I think molecular evidence will have to be brought to bear to either support or dismiss these new species concepts.

Aspicilia needs some work
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2013-03-20 08:51:16 PDT (-0700)

With respect to Aspicilia I recall Bruce McCune wondering whether Aspicilia had a great many very similar species or only a few highly plastic species.

Beautiful specimens
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2013-03-14 13:32:02 PDT (-0700)

It would be interesting to see spore and conidia size size for these specimens, too. I wonder if it would be possible to separate this complex into species based on those characters? Thallus color and texture, based on my growing experience from southern California, is a remarkably poor character to use for taxonomy in Aspicilia.

Created: 2013-03-09 18:28:31 PST (-0800)
Last modified: 2013-03-09 18:28:35 PST (-0800)
Viewed: 73 times, last viewed: 2017-11-02 07:49:18 PDT (-0700)
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