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|I’d Call It That||3.0||6.23||1||(Andrew)|
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This one was in the very public place, so even getting a slice to test is out of question. But I’ll be looking in that general area along the river to see if I can find more of these and take a sample.
Tephromela is distinguished from Lecanora by the hymenium being red/purple-colored. If you do a fairly clean section of an apothecium, you can see it easily, even with just a hand lens. Compared to any other Lecanora that are just sort of pale and dingy-looking inside, this one looks inky-black all the way through.
But, of course, there are Lecanora with black apothecia, too. Rinodina tends to have drab-looking thalli and smaller apothecia. They also have dark-colored spores, so they’re obvious under the microscope. Again, hand lens can be sufficient: the dark spores give a “peppered” look to the interior of the apothecium through a hand lens. Just be careful to do a “clean” cut, otherwise you can drag bits of the dark epihymenium through and get the same sort of look.
For some reason, it’s not encountered too often around here, found only at few location in the state. But one of the locations mentioned in Thomson “Lichen of WI” is barely 20 miles from where I took this photo. We might have a winner.