Please do not re-click a link while waiting for a page to load. (It’s slower and degrades site speed for all users.)
To get images for machine learning, see MO Images for Machine Learning


When: 2012-06-29

Collection location: Peoh Point, Kittitas Co., Washington, USA [Click for map]

Who: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)

Specimen available

On Si rock, 1220m elevation.

To use Knoph and Leuckert’s key requires chromatography, which I am not doing at the moment.

This seems closest to L. carpathica, but like many crusts (for me at least) seems to differ in some respects from descriptions in the references.

note lax paraphyses and Lecidella-type ascus (good illustration in Malcolm & Galloway (1997) “New Zealand Lichens, Checklist, key, and glossary”) in photos


View large – you can see the ascus apex structure with area surrounding apical cushion having inner portion stained darkest.
Crystals insoluble in KOH. On the same 8×10cm rock some of the apo sections show crystals and some do not. Compare to previous observation 98664 which shows crystals in hymenium and hypothecium. (Need to look at that one again.)

Proposed Names

55% (1)
Used references: 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, Knoph, l. -G. and C. Leuckert in 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
Based on microscopic features: See photos. Spores ca. 12×7u, relatively thick wall. Hymenium ca. 70u high. Paraphyses “lax”, particularly in KOH, with a little branching and with apices not much expanded.
Based on chemical features: Thallus K+yellow, C neg (probably-despite all done to prevent my C seems week when tested). See image for info on crystals.

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
I can manage $12 :)
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-07-03 17:17:38 PDT (-0700)

Thanks for the suggestions and info! Can’t wait to try this. I love the image of scotch on the work tables at BLS: one for the lichen, one for me, …

iodine etc.
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-07-03 16:07:04 PDT (-0700)

My bottle says “Iodine, Sublimed, Crystal, Reagent ACS, 25g” from Science Lab. com. Looks like that now would cost $87. I’m sure it was a lot less when I purchased it. Also recall seeing huge amounts (e.g. 50kg) for sale, but don’t see now. Wonder if homeland security rules affected this.

See on ebay 25g is only $12. Enough to last a lifetime.

I think McCune just washed with acid. Don’t know the concentration, but should be easy to roughly calculate and then experiment. My concern is about how far from neutral can the final “washed” solution be without affecting the iodine reaction. I over-rinse with water to feel confident about being quite close to neutral.

I’m sure i’ve seen bottles of Laphroaig sitting on the work tables in photos of BLS outings!

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-06-30 23:21:11 PDT (-0700)

Never thought of using a tincture of iodine! Where do you get iodine crystals? Pool supply or something like that?? Personally, I use denatured alcohol from the hardware store. At least, it seems to work just fine. And it doubles as fuel for my soda-can camp stove, too! (I accidentally tried to use turpentine one time with very frustrating results. Thought it smelled funny… :)

So about this neutralization of KOH… Do you know if McCune uses a mixture of KOH and acid, or does the wash with acetic acid instead of water? Times like this I wish I’d actually attended my freshman chemistry lectures…

There are surely better uses of Laphroaig. :)

90 proof Clear Spring but Everclear will do
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-06-30 21:01:22 PDT (-0700)

Yes. I start with KOH and then rinse with H2O. For speed I believe that Bruce McCune uses something to neutralize the KOH (? acetic acid) and does less rinsing.

Instead of lugol’s I use iodine crystals dissolved in alcohol. It draws under the coverslip easily although it will evaporate first if you aren’t quick. As its difficult for me to obtain lab ethanol I use Clear Spring 190 proof, but Everclear would also do. Neither is available in Washington so I pick up some when in Oregon. (Rumors that 30-year-old Laphroaig works best are clearly false.)

I agree that getting the right degree of staining can be problematic. Lecidella might be easier than most other genera. With this Lecidella the stain was dark at first and then faded quite rapidly, the time window seeming shorter than usual.

By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-06-29 17:24:17 PDT (-0700)

I agree, it’s much easier to separate the asci from the hymenial gel in squashes. But still, requires a very deft touch to get exactly the right amount of lugol’s solution to stain just the ascus tip and not all the surrounding material. I’m so impressed! Do you do the whole rigmarole with KOH wash, then rinse, then Lugol’s? I like the K wash for separating the asci out, but then I find it very hard to draw the lugol’s under the slip, not sure why.

I thought it was pretty good.
By: Richard Droker (wanderflechten)
2012-06-29 17:16:00 PDT (-0700)

I really wanted to see the Lecidella-type ascus as seen in the New Zealand book. After 6 slides this is the best I could do.

(I like to do sections, as it seems that one is throwing away information by doing a squash, but I get better ascus stains with squashes.)

(Wonder what one could do with more sophisticated microscopes.)

I take it back…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-06-29 16:52:33 PDT (-0700)

This is the finest ascus stain I’ve ever seen! :)