Observation 96460: Umbilicaria muehlenbergii (Ach.) Tuck.

When: 2012-06-03

Collection location: Governor Dodge State Park, Wisconsin, USA [Click for map]

Who: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)

Specimen available

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Specimen confirmed by Jim Bennett
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2013-12-29 18:53:23 CST (-0600)
Okay, sure, look at that
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-11 19:24:44 CDT (-0500)

Notice it’s only in the mountains along the east coast until you get to New England. I’ve only seen it a high elevation in the Smokies, for example. I think we’re looking at a “uniform” southern limit, and that it reaches farther south only at high elevation.

According to a map in Brodo
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-11 19:18:16 CDT (-0500)

We’re at the very southern tip of the distribution areal as far as midwest is concerned. That would explaing them being out in the open on bluffs, longing for harsher conditions. On the other hand, they are shown all the way down the eastern seaboard – mush milder conditions there. I guess they can’t figure out what they want…

Funny, then
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-11 19:06:02 CDT (-0500)

Sure looks like ideal habitat. And I think you are central to the range of the species. MAybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s near the edge of the range there, and you need to go closer to Canada / New England to find “proper” fertile populations…

Most of them are out of the way
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-11 18:48:45 CDT (-0500)

Either on boulders sticking out on the sides of that plateu (like top two photos), or on vertical surfaces hard to reach (but within an eyesight, so I can see that they don’t have apothecia either). There are some right on that flat part you can see in the picture, but they’re not much different. By the way, this spot is not much visited, off of the official trails (I like bushwacking, finding my way to the top of these bluffs). It looks like this species is mostly a bluff creature. I infer this from my own experience and the map in Thomson, showing them in southern WI mostly along Wisconsin River (That’s where most of the bluffs are – or most of the bluffs that were scoured for species?).

Beautiful spot
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-10-11 00:55:05 CDT (-0500)

I don’t suppose people (or squirrels??) are walking all over them, and that’s why they aren’t doing so hot?

I’ve revisited the location (see bottom photo)
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-10-10 20:32:13 CDT (-0500)

This species is small and almost lacks apothecia around here, alhtough I found some in another location, but most of them are apothecia-less. I guess it’s not a happy camper here. They grow on top of bluffs, in unsheltered locations.

Gyrophoric acid
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-06-07 01:21:27 CDT (-0500)

Of course you’re right, I wasn’t thinking. Gyrophoric acid isn’t very obvious even when in high concentrations. It is often the barest fleeting blush. The “intertwined things” (good way to put it, it’s a weird structure, hard to describe) are the “give-away”. Only a few species of Umbilicaria do that (_U. torrefacta is another, for example, rare stressed forms U. angulata and others maybe).

You might be right
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-06-06 21:12:27 CDT (-0500)

I haven’t even thought about Umbilicaria at all, especially U.muehlenbergii – those things are supposed to be huge, and I just assumed everything small and gregarious like this would be Dermatocarpon . I picked up one little piece of that bounty, though. There are a bunch of black intertwined things underneath, all right, but I’d be really stretching it if I said KC and C tests showed much. I believe there might have been a slight reddening, but maybe I just wanted to see it. Good news is – I know exactly where it is, and can go back there soon to double-check.

Speaking of!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-06-06 20:33:13 CDT (-0500)

Are you sure this isn’t Umbilicaria muhlenbergii? Yes, it’s supposed to be fertile (and I see some thalli around the margin that might have some apothecia), but these seem too shiny and brown for Dermatocarpon. Any chance you have a specimen? C test should distinguish Umbilicaria from Dermatocarpon immediately. U. muhlenbergii should also have a tattered growth of blackish “plates” or rhizine-like things below, too.

Created: 2012-06-05 18:32:34 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2013-12-29 18:53:44 CST (-0600)
Viewed: 137 times, last viewed: 2017-06-13 02:07:01 CDT (-0500)
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