Observation 67015: Sphaerophorus venerabilis Wedin, Högnabba & Goward

When: 2011-05-06

Collection location: McClane Creek, Olympia, Washington, USA [Click for map]

Who: Drew Henderson (Hendre17)

No specimen available

Large cluster unusually fruiting this late in the season.

Raining hard today

Temp: 50’s

Proposed Names

63% (2)
Recognized by sight
84% (1)
Recognized by sight: Lacking the dense clusters of tiny “foliage” of S. tuckermanii, black dot-like pycnidia conspicuous, main branches “misshapen” (i.e., not nicely cylindrical)

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Thanks Chris!
By: Drew Henderson (Hendre17)
2011-05-07 10:57:54 CST (+0800)

Excellent information and addition to the observation. I recently purchased Lichens of North America and am still pretty new to them- so your info is coming in very handy along with Jason H. You’re a great resource >.<

By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2011-05-07 10:47:23 CST (+0800)

Nice observation! … and thanks to Jason for a quick identification. Here is a bit of background information: There are two epiphytic species of Sphaerophorus in North America, S. tuckermanii and S. venerabilis, and in fact S. venerabilis was just described as a new species in 2009. Both occur near your locality. Here is the relevant part of the key from Wedin, Mats, Filip Högnabba, and Trevor Goward (2009):

1a. Main branches slender with abundant dense clusters of brittle coralloid branchlets; apothecia comparatively uncommon; epiphytic … S. tuckermanii
1b. Main branches sturdy with no or comparatively few clusters of coralloid branchlets; … epiphytic in old-growth forests (rare on the ground); medulla lax; main branches +/- matte, strongly foveolate/scrobiculate [= with irregular depressions and ridges]; apothecia usually abundant; coralloid branchlets absent or very sparse … S. venerabilis

McCune and Geiser (2009, pp.) provide a similar key and photos of both species. See also our MO page on Sphaerophorus of North America

McCune, Bruce, and Linda Geiser, 2009, Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest, 2nd edition, Oregon State University Press.

Wedin, Mats, Filip Högnabba, Trevor Goward, 2009, A new species of Sphaerophorus, and a key to the family Sphaerophoraceae in western North America, The Bryologist, 112(2): 368-374. (You may need to visit a participating university or public library to read this article on BioOne.)

Created: 2011-05-07 09:40:35 CST (+0800)
Last modified: 2011-05-07 10:01:04 CST (+0800)
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