Observation 18986: Melanohalea elegantula (Zahlbr.) O. Blanco et al.
When: 2009-02-27
No herbarium specimen

Notes: Fruiting with other lichens (sorry, haven’t learned lichens yet), mosses on an oak. The upper surface has very minute protrusions that are much darker than the surface they protrude from. They cluster irregularly and can be seen in the closeup photo. The underside was really neat but I didn’t get any good photos. It’s lighter, and under strong magnification appears to be covered in tiny white hairs which form a spongy looking texture on some individuals. There were also samll white shallow craters scattered about. I’ll try to get some better photos. I figure this has to be a lichen and maybe Jason can give an idea of what it is?

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Sorry, just saw this observation…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2009-08-17 17:49:58 CDT (-0500)

Excellent description!… But I think you’ve got two different species here. The first two photos clearly show Melanelia elegantula (a non-pruinose form). The shiny olive-drab upper surface and the scattered, minute, granular, darkish isidia are all typical of the species. Common in dry areas on trees and rock.

But… You describe a lighter-colored “spongy” (probably what lichenologists like to call tomentose) undersurface. M. elegantula would have distinctly shiny (corticate), brown, smooth undersurface with scattered to dense (but always discrete) thick rhizines. Your description would also match:

1) Peltigera evansii: uncommon, growing with moss, but with a dull, often discolored, brown-olive-blackish upper surface, and with distinctive veins from which brush-like tufted rhizines arise, often appearing felty or spongy.

2) Leptogium saturninum or L. burnetiae: both blackish to bluish-grayish above, both with whitish, densely tomentose hairs below, with no cortex visible at all, together they are common on basic moss, trees and rock.

3) Sticta fuliginosa: found on mossy trees, rarely mossy rocks; it, too, has granular isidia scattered above and paler — but not white — tomentose undersurface, but it also importantly has little white craters underneath, a feature no other genus shares; it has brown to blackish colored upper surface.

None of these will have the shiny olive surface of the species in the first two photos. However, any of the three would work for the third photo (definitely not a Melanelia). Ways of Enlichenment says Sticta is “frequent”; together with the craters, I’s say that must be what you’ve got in the third photo. (Exciting! Something I’ve never found… hold on, I do have a photo of the underside, at least, from near Eureka, CA: http://bornnaturalist.org/images/20070221/52.jpg Haha, good thing I keep notes!)

Created: 2009-02-28 19:56:11 CST (-0600)
Last modified: 2009-02-28 19:56:11 CST (-0600)
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