Collection location: Serra de Montejunto, Portugal [Click for map]
The observation took place at a magnificent park with very old trees, namely chestnut, cedar and disperse pine trees. The photos refer to a zone dominated by
First I thought to be in presence of the rare fertile Lobaria pulmonaria, but in the course of my observations that day I realize that most of the trees in the area boasted a fertile specimen of Lobaria; then I started to doubt about my first impression.
Went back home, I looked for more information about fertile Lobaria spp.. Of course, Lobaria virens was excluded, since I knew from past observations that this species lacks isidia and all the specimens observed had plenty of isidia. Then I found references to the papers by C. Cornejo and C. Scheidegger and of these authors with Werth, relative to Lobaria spp. and in particular the papers of 2010 describing the new species Lobaria macaronesica.
This species in endemic from Macaronesia as well as other unusual species Lobaria immixta and altogether with Lobaria pulmonaria form a group of which is very difficult to separate from one another. Quoting the above mentioned authors:
“the three species cannot be distinguished based on ascospore sizes, or ascus-related morphological traits, characters that are commonly used to identify many lichen-forming fungi (Schumm 2003). Second, characteristically developed specimens can hardly be found for L. macaronesica and L. pulmonaria in some localities (S. Werth, personal observation). Third, whereas characteristically developed adult L. macaronesica can be distinguished from L. pulmonaria by its slightly different vegetative propagules, reliable identifications are highly problematic as characters largely overlap among species. Fourth, young specimens of L. immixta may not show any schizidia, and are therefore impossible to distinguish from the other two species, unless chemical data are taken into consideration. However, despite the difficulty of morphological identifications of these three species, they are genetically distinct.”
As probably all know Macaronesia is a zone constituted by four archipelagos: Azores (Portugal), Madeira Islands (Portugal), including the Desertas Islands, Porto Santo Island, and the Selvagens Islands, Canary Islands (Spain), Cape Verde Islands (Cape Verde) and the coastal part of the Northwest of Africa, extending from Marocco to Senegal.
In the first reference below it is mentioned that among the specimens used for identification of the three species, in the case of L. macaronesica there is one from (continental) Portugal (from Sintra). This solved the problem of existence of the species here. So, I believe that my specimens may belong to Lobaria macaronesica rather then to Lobaria pulmonaria, because there are many fertile specimens at the zone of observation which would be unusual for the latter species, or to Lobaria immixta, because most of the specimens observed are matures ones and I found no schizidia on any of them.
In addition, in other sources that I not able to recall now, some authors refer that there is a difference between the width of the lobes of L. macoronesica and L. pulmonaria, being narrower in the former, characteristic that I also observed on my specimens.
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Let me say that there is no remarkable difference between the two species, except maybe the lobes width and, this I didn’t mention in the notes, the color and form of apothecia: more intense red and convex in L. macaronesica, but these I am citing from photos I have seen of fertile L. pulmonaria.
I’ve never heard of this species. Also, I’ve always wondered what the official definition of Macaronesia was. Great find, and beautiful photos, and interesting write-up.
Created: 2014-03-04 20:56:22 EST (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-03-07 07:16:09 EST (-0500)
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