Observation 87351: Lecania A. Massal.

When: 2012-02-03

Collection location: Cypress Island, Skagit Co., Washington, USA [Click for map]

Who: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)

Specimen available

Posting this observation with the hope that Jason can help out.

on dunite in salt spray zone, with Caloplaca luteominea

It consists mostly of dispersed black apothecia similar to Lecidea laboriosa (but doesn’t fit well with laboriosa or others, e.g. spores too large). The amount of crystals (insoluble in KOH) really surprised me. Thought the spores were 1-septate, and resembled some Lecania, but now lean towards it being a Lecidea, (there are European species associated with salt spray similar to L. laboriosa.) According to Thomson the spores of Lecidea “sometimes with a cytoplasmic division and appearing falsely 2-celled”.

Looked at it again. Some spores sure seem septate.

Species Lists


with Caloplaca luteominea
reflected light, transmitted light K, transmitted polarized, transmitted iodine
looked at spores again – are these falsely septate?
mostly its just scattered apothecia (constricted at base) but found a few of these thallus areoles, ca. 0.2mm diameter (large apothecium is 1 mm across), K negetive

Proposed Names

28% (1)
Used references: Nash III, T.H., Ryan, B.D., Diederich, P., Gries, C. and Bungartz, F. (eds) (2004) Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region, Volume 2, Smith, C.W., Aptroot, A., Coppins, B.J., Fletcher, A., Gilbert, O,L., James, P.W. and Wolseley, P.A. (2009) The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland
Based on microscopic features: epithelium brown; hymenium colorless, 6u high, iodine pos – blue; paraphrases unbranched, 2u diameter with apices 4u diameter; hypothecium colorless, with great amount of crystals insoluble in K; ascospores colorless, average ca. 17×4u, 1-septate or “cytoplasmic division”
Based on chemical features: thallus K negetive
28% (1)
Recognized by sight: see comment

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Serious climb
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-02-10 19:18:49 CST (-0500)

Indeed! I’ve been in that area before. I tried walking barefoot up Mt. Wilson once in Los Angeles. ~3500 feet in 6-7 miles. Going up was no problem. Coming down? Ouch! I found her thesis, thanks! (PDF available here.)

on Naesborg
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-02-10 17:05:15 CST (-0500)

Actually, I think she was the person who backpacked barefoot into Ice Lake and up the “Matterhorn” in the Wallowas on the 2005 Northwest Lichenologists outing. It is a relatively stiff hike, and the trail is quite rocky. I think she is 4th from the right in this photo – http://home.comcast.net/~nwlichens/Matterhorn.htm Here’s a photo of lichenologists on the “Matterhorn” – http://www.flickr.com/photos/29750062@N06/3425022532/ Her thesis “Distangling Lecania” is available as a PDF. A quotation – “One final remark, after having conducted field work in the Pacific Northwest in USA I am now in a position to demonstrate that there are no Lecania in Paradise – at least not in Paradise, Montana!”

Barefoot backpacker??
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-02-10 03:26:14 CST (-0500)

Never mind the inscrutable Lecania, I want to hear more about Naesborg.

something like L. fructigena
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-02-09 22:01:46 CST (-0500)

Well, I spent some time (too much) with this. Poured over Smith et al. 2009 (“A notoriously difficult genus…”), van den Boom and Ryan in Nash et al. 2004, Thomson 1997, Noble 1982, and Naesborg 2007; (is she the lichenologist who backpacks in the mountains barefoot?) I think the closest contender is Lecania fructigena, which spores fit and occurs on serpentine and in the supralittoral spray zone. What thallus I have doesn’t fit morphologically or with K, but van den Boom and Ryan consider L. fructigena “very variable”.

(couldn’t figure out how to edit “Based on microscopic features” to change hymenium height to 60u)

thank you Jason and Curtis
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-02-03 23:54:05 CST (-0500)

Thanks Jason and Curtis. I will try to figure this out. I do think that we have many “species” that are not consistent with described European ones.

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-02-03 15:54:18 CST (-0500)

These were tentative suggestions by Curtis. He independently concluded that this was Lecania. I’m still hesitant to suggest a species, since none that I can find info on look similar.

Okay, I’m confused now
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-02-03 14:33:28 CST (-0500)

Yes, some of those spores are clearly septate. And L. laboriosa should have no thallus at all. Looking more closely at the sections, how about Lecania? The thalline rim is receding, maybe, and there’s a fairly well-developed exciple-like layer between the thalline portion and the hymenium, but there is definitely algae in the margins, I’d say. And that’s exactly what Lecania spores look like. I’ve convinced myself. Anyone else? :)