When: 2010-08-13

Collection location: Sewanee, Franklin Co., Tennessee, USA [Click for map]

Who: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)

No specimen available

Locality: 35°13’2.32"N, 85°55’18.32"W, el. 540 m, Alto Road

Habitat: Growing on shaded, nearly vertical Carboniferous sandstone rock faces exposed long ago by a road cut at the western rim of the Cumberland Plateau.

Chemistry: K+ medium to deep yellow, with a few tiny points becoming deep orange-red over several minutes; C-; KC+ light yellow (pale greenish at first, because the thallus is more translucent, exposing the algae below, but becoming a clear, pale yellow over about 2 minutes); P+ orange red (immediately); UV-. The thallus of Lepraria is hydrophobic, so the K and C reagents mostly just run right off without wetting the lichen. It would be better to test an acetone extract, as Lendemer suggests. The P reagent is dissolved in ethanol, so it is absorbed and reacts immediately.

Identification: Pale greenish, saxicolous Lepraria with clearly defined marginal lobes. These marginal lobes suggest the following two species:
Lepraria normandinoides: “Thallus with distinct ‘crisped’ marginal lobes that resemble Normandina” (Lendemer, 2010, p.34); K+ yellow, C–, KC+ yellowish, PD+ orange/red. (Lendemer and Harris, 2007, p.47)
Lepraria lobificans: “Thallus without distinct ‘crisped’ marginal lobes” (Lendemer, 2010, p.34); K- or K+ yellow, C-, KC-, P+ orange (Tønsberg in Nash, vol. 2, p.327)
The lobes in these photos seem to fit Lendemer’s description of Lepraria normandinoides, and the spot tests are just as expected for that species, so Lepraria normandinoides seems a reasonable determination. CNALH range maps indicate that both of these species are widespread and often collected in the southeastern USA.

Lendemer, 2010, Preliminary Keys to the Typically Sterile Crustose Lichens in North America

Lendemer and Harris, 2007, Lepraria normandinoides, a New Widespread Species from Eastern North America

Harris and Ladd, 2005, Preliminary draft: Ozark lichens; Enumerating the lichens of the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma: Prepared for the 14th Tuckerman Lichen Workshop, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 249 pp.

Species Lists



Proposed Names

28% (1)
Used references: Brodo, Sharnoff, and Sharnoff, 2001, pp.396-397
57% (1)
Recognized by sight: “Thallus with distinct ‘crisped’ marginal lobes that resemble Normandina” (Lendemer, 2010, p.34)
Used references: Lendemer, 2010; Lendemer and Harris, 2007
Based on chemical features: K+ yellow, C-, KC+ pale yellow, P+ red-orange, UV-

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
sterile crusts
By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2010-08-14 17:04:30 CDT (-0400)

These fine examples are living just a few hundred meters away. I thought it would be a great opportunity to become more familiar with Lendemer’s new keys to sterile crusts, and surely Harris and Ladd’s Ozark keys as well. Lab work and a few microscope photos are definitely in my future. There is another species of Lepraria in the area as well, with grayish saxicolous rosettes along the lines of Sharnoff’s photo of Lepraria neglecta.

what a specimen!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-08-14 16:40:57 CDT (-0400)

The Ozarks keys should be applicable: K and P test have a good chance of letting you determine the species. It would be worth it for such a gorgeous set of photos. Is this on rock or bark?