When: 2009-05-10

Collection location: Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area, Wisconsin, USA [Click for map]

Who: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)

No specimen available


Proposed Names

57% (1)
Recognized by sight
86% (1)
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
I think I see a few elongate twisty apothecia, too
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-11-27 14:45:34 JST (+0900)

At least in the last photo. Doesn’t rule out Arthonia, though. Might not even rule out A. punctiformis. Almost all Arthonia are reputedly capable of at least some irregular-shaped apothecia. But admittedly young Graphis scripta looks very similar to this, too, at least from this distance where you can’t really see what the margins of the lirellae look like.

Lots of lichenologists, especially the eastern “school”, really look down on identifying lichens visually. The argument is that there’s sufficient variation in all lichens that a professional lichenologist regularly comes across extreme examples which would be misidentified without microscopic and/or chemical (and genetic???) verification. Therefore if you cannot rely on it 100% you can’t use it at all. Providing photos is seen as “encouraging bad habits”, and therefore discouraged. I’m all in favor of you taking up the slack. ;)

Annoying scientists.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-11-27 12:10:00 JST (+0900)

I’m sure most scientists know one Arthonia species from another. Unfortunately, they never bothered to provide illustrations and photos of most of the species, leaving us mortals to guess how many species look alike. But I’m still concerned the bottom two aren’t even Arthonia. Do I see those elongated apothecia of Graphis scripta, or is it just the roughness of the bark?

Try to ignore my pessimism
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-11-23 13:30:01 JST (+0900)

Although, maybe you understand given all the “differences of opinion” there were between Jim Bennett in that last batch of specimens! Arthonia are even more renowned for being indistinguishable. I’d keep the confidence very low unless this particular specimen was ID’ed. Strictly speaking, in the specimens you gave me, I should have separated every twig into a different packet, especially since I could generally only find spores in a single apothecium on a single twig!! That’s why I call going out on a limb. :)

These could all easily be the same species… and just as easily not. Sigh.

Graphis scripta?
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-11-23 12:16:15 JST (+0900)

In fact, I can’t get rid of a feeling the bottom two are Graphis scripta with undeveloped apothecia.

Not this one.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-11-23 12:12:13 JST (+0900)

Several pieces were identified by Jim, but not this observation. Most of the IDd stuff comes from smaller pieces of substrate – like twings and broken branches. However, I went through all of the material I’ve had and, based on Jim’s description, called them A.punctiformis (lichen of certain size and shape and look on smooth bark of decidious trees, mostly maples). I have some other observations of whitish crustose lichen on (mostly) maple, but they’re bigger and have thicker thallus and no prominent apothecia. If something bothers you about this particular observation, you’re not alone. Bottom two pictures come from the tree different than the top one, much older and with rougher bark. It might be a diferent species and I should’ve made it into a different observation. The top picture looks identical to the material Jim identified.

Is the one Jim Bennett determined?
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-11-22 17:04:59 JST (+0900)
Look forward to hearing from you.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-31 09:31:07 JST (+0900)

I hope someone in your party this summer will be able to identify these patches.
Thanks in advance!

Yes, that’s the “Guide to Literature”
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-27 11:20:57 JST (+0900)

I think I mentioned it somewhere or other down below, too. It might live multiple places.

Chris has posted a bunch of great lichen stuff here:


including the references discussed in this thread. But this is outside the user-generated content of MO — we’re just providing a place for Chris to park this content. (Sorry I broke the link yet again, Chris! The new server wasn’t using the latest apache configuration, and I didn’t notice it until just now.)

MO should have a place for users to maintain this sort of stuff wiki-style. Best I can suggest is to add it under the public description of the name Lichen sp.. I added some basic introductory material there a few years ago. We should probably put these references in the references section.

The critical drawback to this plan is that no one ever thinks to look there(!!) Needless to say, addressing this problem is high on our list of priorities.

MO links page?
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-27 11:07:47 JST (+0900)

Well, I’ve come across this extensive list, which probably includes lots of works you guys mentioned. Please see http://www.huh.harvard.edu/...
But again, it’s under harvard.edu, not under mushroom or lichen website where it’s easier to find. I don’t know if MO has a page with literature/website links.

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-27 10:26:32 JST (+0900)

We should really put it someplace more “official” (rather than hiding it under a random observation — no offense to your fine observation intended). But to have it on your site would be spectacular, too. Thanks!

Thanks a lot,
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-27 10:13:05 JST (+0900)

Guys, this conversation will help many others who will stumble upon it. Meanwhile, I think I’ll put some of these links on my website http://www.wisconsinmushrooms.com/ if you don’t mind. I also have some mushroom links I wanted to add for a long time.

Thanks, Chris
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-25 13:25:36 JST (+0900)

I didn’t realize Thompson’s flora was from 2003 — I thought it was much older. Sweet.

Incidentally, here’s the Guide to Literature I mentioned earlier.

Lichens of Wisconsin
By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2011-03-25 13:05:47 JST (+0900)

I believe that the Lichens of Wisconsin by John W. Thompson is still available from the UW-Madison Herbarium.

Chris Parrish and I are working on this
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-25 11:36:34 JST (+0900)

But (at least in my case) very haphazardly. There is an excellent site you can probably still find by googling “lichen literature” which lists all sorts of excellent references, many unpublished. But it is badly out of date, and some of the people it refers you to are sadly no longer with us(!) I’ve never put together a list of the unpublished resources I have, but I can give a quick stab at it here:

J. Lendemer: preliminary keys to sterile crusts of North America

B. Ryan: working keys (mostly last updated in 90’s, but covers a lot)

R. Harris & Ladd: Ozarks keys (produced informally for 2004 or 2005 Tuckerman workshop)

R. Harris: Some Florida Lichens and More Florida Lichens (also several years old, but invaluable)

T. Goward: Macrolichens of British Columbia (from 90’s but still useful, published but free from BC govt site, two volumes)

I can probably distribute all of these upon request. But I’d need Harris’s permission before posting his works freely, though. I’m not sure who one should contact for permission to distribute the late Bruce Ryan’s keys. I’d have to ask Chris Parrish where he found them.

There are several additional good floras. Two more modern ones are “Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest” by B. McCune, and the three-volume set of the “Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region”, ed. by T. Nash III. Hale did a California macrolichen flora some time ago. I’ve seen mentioned old floras from places like Minnesota, as well, but know little about them. Oh, and P. May did a macrolichen flora of the southern Appalachians (sadly, I’ve hardly even looked at it since it is so far out of date).

Hopefully Chris will fill in some of the things I’m missing.

Thank you
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-25 11:14:49 JST (+0900)

That’s a good publication. Most of these works become known to people through the word of the mouth. There are only few books that would pop up in the search engines or on Amazon. I’m hungry for any download like that or any special publication from any government body (Forest Service etc.). If there are any mushroom/lichen websites that list such literature/downloads, I’d appreciate if someone can point me to it. Of the books, I onle have “Lichens of NA” by I.Brodo and “Macrolichens of New England” by Hinds @ Hinds.

It’s worth pointing out…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-24 10:40:27 JST (+0900)

…that lichens have come pretty far, recently, in this respect. See, for example, James Lendemer’s draft keys for North America sterile crustose lichens:


I’m going to go out on a limb here: I believe there are a number of regions of the world (Europe, North America, New Zealand to name a few examples), where an amateur with moderate means can now expect to acquire sufficient literature such that any specimen that fails to key out has an excellent chance of either being genuinely interesting to science, or being a member of one of a relatively small number of taxonomic groups known to be problematic (thus, arguably, also interesting to science :).

This particular lichen is clearly the exception that proves my bold assertion!

Thank you
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-24 10:21:09 JST (+0900)

I appreciate it if you can get an ID. I used to try and “squeeze” every specimen I have into the well-known species, but gave up on that. There are tons of species seldomly covered, including many in lichen (or mushroom, for that matter) guides that don’t seem to have ANY illustrations, even online. On the other hand, the same species can look very different depending on the number of circumstances. That’s why I bring them up here, fostering the dialog and dispute, hoping to find the right ID.

I agree, these look quite different…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-24 09:51:18 JST (+0900)

… from those photos of Phlyctis. I’ve seen your “lichen” quite a lot, especially in the southern Appalachians. I’ll make it my mission to try to get an ID on it this summer! There’s some hope, since the ABLS meeting is in Roan Mountain State Park in June — surely someone there will be able to shed light on it. :)

Look different
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-24 08:55:02 JST (+0900)

Thank you, I’ve seen those photos. They all look quite different from the ones here, I believe – crusty and mostly odd-shaped. I have few more observations of the similar kind – please see #64288 and #64151. All look very flat, almost like a layer of paint, and most are circular shape, like little patches.

reference photos
By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2011-03-23 14:36:50 JST (+0900)

Here are some photos from the Stridvall’s, Einar Timdal (scroll down to Phlyctis), and Stephen Sharnoff.

Have issues with that
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-23 13:08:24 JST (+0900)

The problem I have with Phlyctis argena is that the latter usually have some thickness to it, either just like a crust or covered additionally with soredia. The specimen here are just like a thin layer of paint (although the English name of P.argena – Whitewash Lichen – matches perfectly). I’d like to see some reference pictures from reliable sources, if such exist online, to make 100% sure. All the photos I have in my guides are quite different from the specimen here.

By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2011-03-22 14:39:27 JST (+0900)

The general appearance suggests Phlyctis argena. The tiny blackish dots may be immersed apothecia as described in the CNALH treatment of this species: “Apothecia: rare, immersed in thalline verrucae or +flush with the thallus surface, 0.2-0.4 mm wide disc: gray-black, white pruinose” (CNALH description). The chemistry should be quite distinctive: “Spot tests: K+ yellow turning orange-red, C-, KC-, P+ yellow to orange” (again from the CNALH description).

Still have no idea what these are
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2011-03-21 03:15:53 JST (+0900)

Although the first photo looks like it has tiny black pycnidia, doesn’t it?

By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2011-03-12 14:36:27 JST (+0900)

This lichen prefers younger trees of Sugar Maple, but can be found on other trees.