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This genus has mazaediate apothecia, meaning the asci just disintegrate instead of ejecting the spores. This results in a black powdery mass of spores being extruded out the top of the apothecium. If it’s been producing lots of spores and the apothecia are sheltered from rain or people brushing against them, these spore masses can grow quite large, sort of like the eraser at the end of a pencil. Maybe that’s why these recent photos look like sessile apothecia? They’re actually immersed, but the spore mass has grown so tall that it looks like they’re sitting on top of the thallus instead of being embedded within. This would be easy to verify one with a specimen in hand: just brush the spores off with your finger and see where the apothecium really is!
See CNALH maps of all four yellow species:
These maps confirm that yours should be C. tigillare.
Definitely worth getting a specimen of yours. No one will miss a splinter or two judiciously removed from a corner, right?
People sacrificed a lot for a good science, so I hope old bench will not be missed knowing that it served a good purpose helping to distinguish between C.tigillare and C.lucidum. Seriously, the latter’s distribution is odd. From its findings in WI, I thought it was boreal zone inhabitant. But Arizona? Perhaps it’s more widespread in the state than Thomson states.
Oh look at that! Yes, C. lucidum is the eastern counterpart of C. pinicola. (It has a pruinose margin, making it potentially prone to confusion with C. tigillare despite the sessile apothecia.) That could definitely be what you have here, not C. tigillare.
B. Ryan’s keys say of C. lucidum: “on conifer trunks and wood [in] Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario and Arizona[!]”.
Certainly worth considering.
But Thomson mentions only two species: C.tigillare and C.lucidum. The latter is on conifer trees, although could be on dead trees also, but so far has only been found in Wisconsin’s extreme north. C.tigillare, on the other hand, is considered common over the state and is listed in Dane County here (never mind that I only know one old bench that’s a host to this species, and haven’t met it elsewhere yet): that’s why I am fairly confident in ID. On the other hand, maybe I should grab a sample and get new species discovered in WI under my belt ;-)
There are two common, closely-related, yellow species. You may have both of them in your area:
The apothecia of the first looks like Thelomma, the second looks like a Buellia. I think I have posted a couple close-ups of C. pinicola. I finally saw C. tigillare recently, and there is no question. It is not a subtle difference!
Yours looks like it may be C. pinicola. But your photos are right on the edge of having enough detail to be confident.
(Incidentally, it looks like there might be some gray Cyphelium in the corner of one of the new photos, too. Perhaps C. inquinans. Also pretty common, and grows in the same sort of habitats and on the same kind of substrate: weathered wood like fence posts or old decorticate snags.)
done with different camera, in cloudy weather and using flash. That gives much “colder” appearance to the wood and the entire scene.
These are excellent photos! Spectacular specimens, too.
Foul weather (sun beating down mercilessly) prevented me from taking better photos of this one, but I’ll revisit it week or two from now. Meanwhile, I decided to post it since there aren’t that many on MO (actually, there is only one posted by Jason).
Created: 2012-03-18 20:05:08 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-12-14 18:46:19 CST (-0500)
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