Observation 65489: Lichen P. Micheli
When: 2009-11-08
No herbarium specimen
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Thanks a lot!
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-16 21:44:43 EDT (-0400)

Wow-I’ve got more than I hoped for! I greatly appreciate your help on this. I’ll print this page and put it with my Lichen ID guides. Thanks a lot!

spot test illustrations
By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2011-04-15 23:42:34 EDT (-0400)

See these photos of lichen spot tests by Stephen Sharnoff.

Alien newspaper!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-04-15 23:11:39 EDT (-0400)

That’s great! Indeed it is, but not so bad as it sounds. Check out what I wrote for Lichen sp. (click through to the public description) — there’s a section on chemistry in there. Also, I was just discussing technique with zaca here: comment 33653, although much of that probably won’t apply to these crusts. The summary that you’re looking for is:

  • K = 10% solution of KOH, apply a drop to surface and note color change, generally very quick
  • C = straight Chlorox bleach, needs to be refreshed every few weeks, again, apply a drop to surface and note color change, often very fleeting and tricky to see (comment to zaca talks about this and how to improve the odds)
  • P = PD = PPD = paraphenylenediamine, difficult to get a hold of, comes as tiny crystals, place one crystal in a beer bottle top, crush it with tweazers, add two drops of denatured (ethyl) alcohol (one drop evaporates too quickly), then apply to surface of lichen, note color change after a minute or two, somewhere between yellow to orange to red (if anything), precise hue important but apparently variable (I will go to any length to avoid!!)
  • UV = shine 350 nm UV light on your subject in a pitch black room, causes fluorescence: white, “ice-blue”, yellow, or orange, either bright or “dull”, 370-380nm is sufficient only for a few common things (lichexanthone is neon-yellow under any UV light) but defininitely not for the subtle white ones like alectoronic or divaricatic acids

So the notation is:

  • K- means no color change when you apply KOH
  • K+y means turns yellow
  • K+o means turns orange
  • K+r means turns red
  • C+p means turns fleeting pink when you apply bleach
  • C+r means turns lasting red
  • UV+y means fluoresces yellow under UV
  • UV+ice means fluoresces bluish-white under UV

These are the common ones, but others occur: e.g., C+g (green), KC+r/v or p/v (more of a violet than red or pink), K+y-o/r (turns yellow immediately, then slowly morphs to orange or maybe even eventually red). Also note that some authors can’t deal with pink, so everything, even the fleeting pink reactions are “red” or maybe “rose”.

And then there are the combos KC and (rarely) CK. This just means apply K first, then apply C. CK is just the opposite. No need to wait, really, or anything.

re: “Thallus NOT C+ AND/OR KC+ pink-red”

There is a whole class of lichen acids which are one of:

  • C- KC+p (e.g., physodic and alectoronic acids)
  • C+p KC+p (e.g., gyrophoric acid)
  • C+r KC+r (e.g., lecanoric acid)

That phrase is intended to refer to all of these reactions collectively.

re: drain cleaners

I’ve never tried using the ones with multiple ingredients. I have no idea if they will work. Again, I’d be happy to pop a small amount in the mail.

Drain Cleaners
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-15 22:27:26 EDT (-0400)

I’ve looked at the drain cleaners at the local store. They have half a dozen brands, but no Red Devil. All of them have two or three ingredients.
Also, could you point me to some “Crash Course for Dummies” regarding these chems and how to work with them or how to understand the magic behind all the abbreviations? Reading “Keys to Crustose Lichens of North America” is like reading an alien newspaper. They have these K+, K-, UV+, P+ etc. things. Are those the substances you mentioned? Here is one example:
“Thallus NOT C+ AND/OR KC+ pink-red” I’d greatly appreciate your help. (Sorry that you have to deal with rookie)

I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-04-14 22:01:39 EDT (-0400)

These sterile crustose lichens have traditionally been very poorly documented. Only now with the aid of modern molecular techniques have people like Lendemer been able to make any confident progress. Of course, I have no idea how long P. petraea has been recognized nor do I know anything about the Wisconsin checklist… (Hey, just think — this could be the first report of whatever this is for the state of Wisconsin! :)

Thank you
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-14 21:50:08 EDT (-0400)

I appreciate it, and will send you an address shortly.
By the way, it looks like P.petraea is off the table – the only Phlyctis listed for my state in “Lichens of Wisconsin” is P.argena.

KOH source
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-04-14 21:25:24 EDT (-0400)

I’ve never found a local source for KOH. I got mine mail-order from fischerscientific or some place like that. In fact, I got a lifetime supply. Because that’s the minimum you can get!

Just email be your address, and I’ll send you a phial of the stuff. I think my email address is on my profile page.

(But I’m fairly sure NaOH is chemically equivalent, if perhaps? not quite as strong… just make a stronger solution! I used NaOH for years without apparently any ill effects.)

I’ll check on that
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-14 21:10:57 EDT (-0400)

Thank you for the tip. I’ll check on those things next time I’m in a store. What about that KOH thing? All mushroomers always refer to KOH and what color it produces when dropped on a mushroom, but nobody says where to get it – like if it was an air freshener one can just grab at the gas station.

You might have these chemicals!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-04-14 20:59:35 EDT (-0400)

C = straight-up Chlorox bleach.

K = lye, either NaOH or KOH. Red Devil brand drain-o is NaOH, for example. It’s entirely possible that all brands of drain-o are chemically equivalent(?) Can’t say I’ve ever tried, actually.

No chemicals
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-14 20:42:00 EDT (-0400)

I don’t have an access to the listed chemicals, but can try and get more magnified photos next time.

I wonder if it’s a Phlyctis
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-04-14 20:09:59 EDT (-0400)

I seem to remember P. petraea looking much like this. I don’t know my sterile crusts at all yet. If you’re feeling really motivated, chip of a tiny piece and do some spot tests on it. K, C and K followed by C could very well show something. If not, you will need access to PPD to even narrow it down to group in James Lendemer’s fancy new Prelimary Key to Sterile Crustose Lichens in North America. (You’ll also need better detailed view of the surface eventually. Looks like maybe discrete soralia, but I can’t quite make it out.)

Very common
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-04-13 21:06:47 EDT (-0400)

These are very common in our area, but I can’t pin them down. They’re very thin and often look like paint.

Created: 2011-04-13 20:56:22 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2011-04-14 19:56:26 EDT (-0400)
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