Observation 59506: Cladonia P. Browne

When: 2010-11-04

Collection location: Kalatope wildlife Sanctuary, Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India [Click for map]

Who: Alok Mahendroo (alok)

No specimen available

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In this case…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-11-23 14:18:01 -05 (-0500)

The one in the first photo clearly has soredia, squamules on the stalks, and at least one stalk has some continuous cortex on the lower half. Further, I’d say these have brown tips, so they probably lack usnic acid (often very hard to tell from photos because of typically poor “white-balancing” of cameras). It could be C. coniocraea or C. ochrochlora.

The one in the second photo is harder to be sure. The squamules on the stems look more “serious” (as opposed to looking sort of “accidental” on the other photo; notice there are no squamules on the top halves of the stems in the first photo), and I can’t see any soredia (although we can’t be sure since none of the tips are in clear focus). So I might say C. scabriuscula if I had to guess.

Definitely Cladonia
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-11-23 14:12:42 -05 (-0500)

It’s a difficult genus, with hundreds of species. But there are some obvious morphological groups:

cups — C. chlorophaea, C. pyxidata, C. carneola, C. sulphurina, C. cervicornis, etc.
horns — C. coniocraea, C. cornuta, C. subulata, C. scabriuscula, C. norvegica, etc.
branched — Cladina spp., C. furcata, C. uncialis, etc.
stalkless — C. apodocarpa, C. polycarpoides, C. strepsilis, C. robbinsii, etc.

Also, the genus can be split into two groups based on presence of usnic acid, splitting each of these main groups into two. Typically the ones with red apothecia also have usnic acid (these look greener, also called “yellowish green” in the literature); the ones with brown apothecia typically lack usnic acid (these look grayer or whitish or turn brown in exposed habitats). (Exceptions do exist, though, e.g., C. carneola and C. floerkeana.)

Further key characteristics include presence of coarse or fine soredia, size of squamules at the base of the stalks, presence of squamules on the stalks, cups growing on cups (called “proliferating”), presence of large apothecia at the tips of the stalks, and of course, habitat (is it growing on soil, rock, moss, logs, base of trees?).

Here’s a reasonable list of things to start looking for in the field: (with example species demonstrating each character)

1) stalks expand into cups (C. chlorophaea)
1a) cups proliferate from margin (C. gracilis ssp. turbinata)
1b) cups proliferate from center (C. cervicornis)
1c) cups have gaping hole in center (C. cenotea)
1d) cups seive-like with many holes (C. multiformis)
1e) cups are smooth corticate inside (C. cervicornis)
1f) cups have soredia inside (C. chlorophaea)
1g) cups have soft pillow-like lumps inside (C. pyxidata)
1h) stalks have squamules (C. bellidiflora)

2) stalks are unbranched (C. coniocraea)
2a) stalks tipped with pillow-shaped apothecia (C. peziziformis)
2b) stalks pointy-tipped (C. coniocraea)
2bi) minute brown dot at very tip (C. coniocraea)
2bii) minute red dot at very tip (C. macilenta)
2c) stalks sorediate from top to bottom (C. cornuta)
2d) stalks with smooth cortex near base but sorediate above (C. ochrochlora)
2e) stalks with smooth or cracked or bumpy cortex over entire surface (C. gracilis ssp. elongata)
2f) stalks ridged and irregular in cross-section (C. cariosa)

3) stalks branched (Cladina or C. squamosa)
3a) stalks branched a few times (C. squamosa)
3b) stalks densely branched forming cushion (Cladina)
3c) stalks with soft cottony texture, no cortex (Cladina)
3d) stalks with shiny cortex (C. uncialis)
3e) stalks branching in 2s at each node (C. subtenuis)
3f) stalks branching in 3s, 4s or more at each node (C. mitis)
3g) stems with gaping holes at the branching points (C. uncialis)

4) large populations entirely lacking stalks of any kind (C. apodocarpa)
4a) squamules long and strap-shaped (C. apodocarpa)
4b) squamules small and rounded (C. piedmontensis)
4c) squamules small and much-divided (C. caespitosa)
4d) squamules with soredia underneath or along the margins (C. parasitica)
4e) squamules balling up and becoming free from the ground and rolling around in wind (C. strepsilis)

By: Alok Mahendroo (alok)
2010-11-23 11:48:38 -05 (-0500)

How does one tell the difference in this species… These are two different sightings…

Created: 2010-11-23 11:40:39 -05 (-0500)
Last modified: 2011-02-10 11:41:48 -05 (-0500)
Viewed: 63 times, last viewed: 2018-05-09 02:25:55 -05 (-0500)
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