Observation 58702: Stereocaulon Hoffm.

When: 2010-11-13

Collection location: North Falmouth, Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA [Click for map]

Who: Nathan Wilson (nathan)

Specimen available

Growing on rock with several other lichens around. Probably a Cladonia, but I haven’t tried to id it.


The foliose stuff was another lichen growing with the primary subject of my curiosity.

Proposed Names

77% (2)
Recognized by sight

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Add Comment
There are a number of lichenologists in the northeast.
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-11-17 14:17:24 PST (-0800)

James Lendemer at NYBG has been very helpful to a number of us in the southeast. Hinds & Hinds (Macrolichens of New England) might list others, too. I don’t know if your specific area has been well-studied, but there’s a good chance in either case that herbaria like NYBG would be happy to take any material you can give them, especially if you make good specimens.

I agree with Stereocaulon
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2010-11-16 19:45:12 PST (-0800)

Based on what I’ve read in Brodo. However, I have to say none of the species they list seem like a good match. I did bring some home, so I should be able to get some good closeups. However, if Jason has a hard time getting these to species, I expect I have no real hope of getting closer than the genus.

Alas, I agree
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-11-16 10:16:11 PST (-0800)

I’d love to tackle this genus, but at the moment my IDs have about a 10% chance(!) of being correct as verified by Trevor Goward or James Lendemer. And that’s with good specimens in hand. I find it exceedingly difficult. (Haha, I think I’d improve my odds by using a dart board!)

Surely Stereocaulon……..!
By: himanshurai10
2010-11-16 00:57:36 PST (-0800)

The spp. is difficult to identify as the pictures are not that much enlarge. Hope you may go for TLC……….

By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2010-11-14 06:28:16 PST (-0800)

It did have different “feel” to it than a Cladonia. I’ll look up the genus in Brodo et al.

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2010-11-13 20:59:46 PST (-0800)

Not sure how best to describe the difference between Cladonia and Stereocaulon, although they are totally unrelated. (The stems of Cladonia are actually modified fruiting bodies, while the stems of Stereocaulon are vegetative, with the apothecia relegated to the tips.) Stereocaulon always has cephalodia (brown/black/gray lumps containing cyanobacteria instead of the usual green alga present in the rest of the thallus), but they can be very difficult to find, and you sort of need to know what to look for; Cladonia never has cephalodia.

Overall, though, the two have a different “look”. Stereocaulon has no proper basal squamules — its “squamules” are minute and often granular, and cover the stems densely. Cladonia can lack basal squamules, and can have abundant squamules along the podetia, but they are generally distinctly greenish, while Stereocaulon is very pale white to gray with little or usually no greenish tint.