When: 2014-04-11

Collection location: Cherokee Hills, Madison Co., Alabama, USA [Click for map]

Who: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)

No specimen available


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By: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)
2014-05-16 22:38:31 PDT (-0700)

Ok, that makes sense. Not every C. flavovirescens had apothecia that day, but next time I see some at that locale I will grab some. Probably based on the comments anything like that around is likely that species (a few other areas have this lichen).

Yeah, I actually thought about tape, not that I had any with me.

Scotch tape
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2014-05-16 21:55:52 PDT (-0700)

Just kidding! Alas, lichens don’t usually sporolate as vigorously as your average mushroom.

So, the typical collection method is highly traumatic to the rock: hammer and chisel. But Tom Chester and the folks working with him on cemeteries in England have come up with an alternative which is somewhat gentler: pry off a couple apothecia with the tip of a knife into a tiny baggie or ziploc. Then, glue them to a slide back in the lab with elmer’s glue. Now you can section them, even voucher the slide!, just as if you’d collected a whole chunk of the rock.

That’s probably your best bet. Be sure to get nice big pretty ones, of course, to assure that you’re getting a mature one with lots of spores. (Some saxicoles it can be very hard to find spores.)

Good luck!

How do I collect spores?
By: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)
2014-05-16 19:45:18 PDT (-0700)

I went out to that rock today, and several others on that same trail with the same lichen. I can’t pry any of the lichen off? Does’t really scrape too well either. How do you collect the spores?

In the meantime …
By: zaca
2014-05-13 04:45:09 PDT (-0700)

I posted observation 165135 where you can see the spores of C. ochracea.

Working on it
By: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)
2014-05-12 09:46:40 PDT (-0700)

I found online a way to convert a smart phone into a microscope of sorts. If that works out I will do so, as this specimen is pretty easy to get to, on a few large rocks very near an easy to get to trailhead.

By: zaca
2014-05-12 09:42:29 PDT (-0700)

I would appreciate to see the spores of this specimen, if you have any chance to scope it.

By: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)
2014-05-12 08:47:42 PDT (-0700)

Thanks for the wonderful back and forth! I didn’t expect that there would be any controversy with the identification or any debate. That was interesting to read and informative.

In all seriousness
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2014-05-08 19:19:00 PDT (-0700)

One of the exciting things about MO is that experts from other parts of the world can maybe catch long-standing mistakes in local floras they’ve never seen before. You are absolutely right that these photos look very much like C. ochracea. I will definitely pay attention to those characters in the future. Who knows, thanks to this conversation, maybe someone on MO will notice that C. ochracea really does occur in North America, after all!

Thanks, Jason, particularly …
By: zaca
2014-05-08 17:37:23 PDT (-0700)

for the joke. You are right, I forgot to report that I know nothing about N. A. lichens, in general, and even less about Caloplaca spp. existing there. Well, but that didn’t limited me, I just gave my opinion based on my short experience, based mainly in two points:
1 – The thallus seem to be ecorticate giving that appearance “felted” matt, as mentioned in the British Flora;
2 – The apothecia are less shiny than in C. flavovirescens and if you look closely (magnifying the photo) almost all apothecia leave dark marks in the thallus, which I think to be due to its long immersion in thallus before eruption.
I read this information somewhere, but now I cannot say where.
My apologizes to Tim, because I may confused him with my proposal, and thanks Jason for your explanations about the non-existence of C. ochracea in N.A..

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2014-05-08 16:12:41 PDT (-0700)

Zaca, you definitely have way more experience with Caloplaca than I… but we need to document the reasoning behind this id better if we’re going to report a species new to North America, haha! Local keys (e.g., to the Ozark and Great Smoky Mountains) suggest this should be called C. flavovirescens based on the thin continuous yellowish crust on rock (common on both calcareous and siliceous rocks). I am unfamiliar with C. ochracea. Can you tell us what its primary characteristics are, and better yet if possible, how it would differ with C. flavovirescens? It could well be that local lichenologists have been lumping the two species incorrectly all this time simply because they’ve never heard of C. ochracea, which is presumably a European species…

[EDIT: British Flora claims C. ochracea has an ecorticate filmy mottled yellow and white crust; and the apothecia are initially immersed… woah! and the spores become 3-septate!! It is exclusively on limestone. All material I’ve seen from southeastern North America has a shiny thin crust — i.e., corticate presumably — and I’ve never observed 3-septate spores or even spores with dumb-bell-shaped locules (the precursor state to developing the second set of septae), although admittedly the local keys don’t require observation of spores, so I rarely bother to put a section under the microscope. While we cannot per se rule out C. ochracea based on this photo, I believe it is sufficiently different that local lichenologists would certainly have recognized it and named it correctly if it occurred here. Therefore, the odds are C. ochracea truly does not occur in the area, and that this must be C. flavovirescens as Tim originally stated.]

By: Tim Martin (T Martin2010)
2014-05-07 14:44:22 PDT (-0700)

Thank you!