Cladonia coccifera

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Steve
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Location: Sheffield, Yorkshire

Cladonia coccifera

Post by Steve » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:20 pm

Hi,
Last year we recorded 4 bushy lichens on trees at Longshaw - Evernia prunastri, Ramalina farinacea, Ramalina fastigiata and Usnea subfloridania. Next year I'd like to look at Cladonia, which is not the easiest of lichen genera but perhaps the most beautiful. Just above Longshaw we found these nice Cladonia on White Edge today. I always called these Cladonia coccifera - then I think they were re-allocated to a loosely defined C. diversa some years ago. Now it seems as though the genus is under revision. DNA again - a lot of lichenology today seems to consist of endless dull lists of DNA sequences :( These specimens aren't dull - they are real Christmas crackers!
Steve
Attachments
DSCF9810.JPG
Cladonia coccifera on peat on Coal Measures Sandstone
DSCF9811.JPG
Cladonia coccifera on peat on Coal Measures Sandstone

diggleken
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Re: Cladonia coccifera

Post by diggleken » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:55 am

Not dull at all Steve, quite agree - Cladonia in all forms are so interesting, its taken me a few years to be at amateurish level of certainty and I'm still learning..........you will likely have more round your way on the bog tops than me - I get excited round here on the bog when I find anything unusual because of all the past damage from industry . Getting better now, especially with all the restoration work and less burning to hell by grousers - and some stuff of course prefers sulphurous output.
Diversa/Coccifera agg are a broad group but the coccifera part is K negative, whilst diversa has a reaction I think.
I hope this sort of posting leads to others posting Lichen stuff too.
But it is a strangely neglected art. :roll:
Cheers
Ken

Steve
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Posts: 445
Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 8:59 pm
Location: Sheffield, Yorkshire

Re: Cladonia coccifera

Post by Steve » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:28 am

Hi Ken,
I quite agree - lichens are neglected, but you can find them all year round, go back to check something a month later, take nice photos, do microscopy and some chemistry (I don't do "P" reagent), and they are reappearing after a couple of hundred years of sulphur poisoning. I studied them a lot 30 years ago, and am very rusty now.
I looked at a description of lichens in the Peak District in the 1960's yesterday:

“Most upland regions throughout Great Britain are notable for the richness of their lichen flora, but in this reepect the Peak District is somewhat disappointing. The relatively limited range of species and lack of growth in many cases is perhaps due in large measure to the atmospheric pollution from nearby indudtrial centres and from the quarrying and lime-burning both within and on the borders of the National Park. Lichens are probably more susceptible to the effect of smoke and fumes than any other type of plant and soon become impoverished and tend to die when the air becomes in any way impure.
The limitations of the Peakland lichen flora are most evident when one studies those which grow upon the bark of trees, for coticolous species are particularly scarce on the oak, which is the dominant tree on siliceous soils, and the ash which occurs in the limestone dales. Though not abundant, such plants as Evernia prunastri and Parmelia physodes are characteristic of these habitats” (In the New Naturalist “Peak District” (1962) K.C. Edwards).

Over the past half century we'v seen a miraculous re-colonisation of impressive growths of shrubby lichens such as Ramalina and Usnea after presumably hundreds of years of absence – especially on veteran oaks as in Longshaw. In the early 1980’s I discovered, at the same time as Joan Egan, Usnea lichen growing in the deep cracks of ancient willow trees just 4 miles west of Sheffield Town Hall. Oliver Gilbert was a top lichen expert at that time, and he surmised that the lichen probably colonised from propagules blown by westerly winds from Wales. Our survey has revealed some trees in Longshaw which look just like trees in west Wales. So this is a fantastic time to revisit lichens - after struggling with the stunted, infertile and sad-looking ones in the 70's and 80's, when you had to go to the Lakes, Cornwall, Wales or Scotland to see how they ought to be.
Looking forward to studying Cladonia in 2016 - there are only about 60 kinds I think. I was going to look closely at Galerina but I think it might be a waste of time - I identified almost nothing with confidence this year.
Have a great New Year - Slainte mhath!
Steve
Attachments
Lichen on Sycamore - Copy.JPG
Lichen-covered sycamore at Longshaw - mostly Ramalina farinacea and Evernia prunastri
Usnea florida - Copy.JPG
Usnea subfloridana at Longshaw - recorded 9 times in 2 years. There are similar species but stripping the new growths to check wouldn't be right.

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