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Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:51 pm
by Neil Sanderson
In 2017 a paper came out in the Lichenologist: Gasparyan et al (2017) “Ramalina europaea and R. labiosorediata, two new species of the R. pollinaria group (Ascomycota: Ramalinaceae), and new typifications for Lichen pollinarius and L. squarrosus” h ... 2917000226. This split Ramalina pollinaria in Europe in to two species Ramalina pollinaria s. str. and the new Ramalina europaea. Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. has been recorded widely in Britain, so this raises the question of which segregate we have or do we have both? At the time I put this up on the old UK Lichens site, as I did not know Ramalina pollinaria at all, but from the most recent BSL dot map it does not look like may people have been recording this species recently.

Ramalina pollinaria.jpg
BLS dot map Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. (Blue = 1999 or earlier & Red = 2000 or latter)

Finally I have found some myself and could compare the material to Gasparyan et al (2017). During a weeks holiday in a cottage on the side of The Striperstones, I picked up my first collection of Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. from the branch of Holly in moorland near improved fields. This formed a beautiful mat along the branches with the thin branched thallus ending in spine-like branchlets. The latter ended in small nodules, from which the punctiform soralia develop. The soredia were granular 50 – 60 µm diameter.

Scans of specimen

The species are morphologically distinct, with the soralia formation and distribution the most distinctive features and, as the spine-like branchlets with solaria developing at their tips are the main defining feature of Ramalina europaea, so this looks very much what I have got

Excerpts from paper:

Screenshot 2019-09-23 at 21.19.45.png
Screenshot 2019-09-23 at 21.23.16.png
Screenshot 2019-09-23 at 21.23.55.png

The description on the LGBI includes the following
the apices dissected with many small, nodulose proliferations, or more flattened branches with wavy or deeply incised or notched margins
The first half is certainly description of Ramalina europaea, the latter could be of Ramalina pollinaria s. str.. We certainly have Ramalina europaea and it is likely we also have Ramalina pollinaria s. str., as Gasparyan et al (2017) record this from The Netherlands. So do keep a look out for Ramalina pollinaria s. lat, at the very least the lack of recent records points to a serious decline, either in the species, or in recording it, and that needs sorting out! Gasparyan et al (2017) recorded Ramalina europaea from both rock and bark, while they only recorded Ramalina pollinaria s. str. from bark. The LGBI implies that Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. was mainly recorded on rock, so it may be that most British and Irish records refer to Ramalina europaea.

Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:51 pm
by Neil Sanderson
Ramalina europaea like London buses: you wait ages for one – and then two come along at the same time; well a few days latter. I think I now have more material of Ramalina pollinaria s. lat., again appearing to be Ramalina europaea. This time from a Crab Apple branch on the edge of a pasture woodland in the New Forest. Unlikely to Stiperstones material described above, this is mature material and confirms what I thought, that the Shropshire material was a sward of young thalli. This material has wider thalli wider, to a maximum of 3mm wide, but still has the diagnostic spine-like branchlets. These occur thinly on the old thalli but more abundantly on young material at the base.

2019-09-29-01 Ramalina europaea Matley 2.jpg
A scan of Ramalina europaea from a Crab Apple branch, Matley Wood, New Forest

This is most like Ramalina lacera, but Ramalina europaea and Ramalina pollinaria s.str. are much narrower up to 3mm wide, while Ramalina lacera has thalli over 1cm wide with with reticulate ridges. Ramalina europaea and Ramalina pollinaria s.str. lack these ridges.

Ramalina lacera, Crab Apple twigs, Setley Plain, New Forest

Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. is new to the New Forest and this appears to be the first recent record of Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. from Hampshire.


Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:02 am
by CJohnsonOHBR
Thank you for drawing our attention to this new information on Ramalina europaea and R. pollinaria
A severe shortage of trees makes it unlikely that I will find either, although there is a record of R. pollinaria dating back to 1960 from Stornoway on the island of Lewis. I will look carefully at the trees the next time we go to Stornoway where there is our only sizeable area of broad-leaved, mature trees.
Also thank you for flagging the images of R. pollinaria used on the NBN Atlas as incorrect. Regular users of the Atlas are aware that the images of species used can be incorrect and misleading, and it should encorage more of us to "flag" those which should be removed and replaced.


Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:46 pm
by Neil Sanderson
I now have what I think is Ramalina pollinaria s. str., as windblown material from the same wood that I got the Ramalina europaea from, Matley Wood in the New Forest.

This is generally similar but the distinctive spine-like proliferations of Ramalina europaea are rare, while it shares the elongated marginal soralia on the thallus. A clincher is that the soredia are finer 30 – 45 µm diameter, while those on my Ramalina europaea specimens are more granular and 50–60 μm in diameter.

Ramalina pollinaria s. str. spine-like proliferations rare, fine soredia in marginal elongated soralia

For comparison:

2019-09-29-01 Ramalina europaea Matley 2.jpg
Ramalina europaea, spine-like proliferations frequent, granular soredia in marginal elongated soralia

I have also recently found some more material of Ramalina europaea in north Wales. Separating Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. from large Ramalina farinacea is not very easy I think, hence the decline in recent records of Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. There appears have been a generational loss in confidence in identifying Ramalina pollinaria s. lat. in the lichen recording community. Looking at some large Ramalina farinacea material collected this morning, this can have some marginal shortly elongated soralia, but also has wide splayed marginal circular and ulcerose soralia low down on the thallus, which are lacking in Ramalina pollinaria s. lat.

The critical couplet in the LGBI2 is given below, with 10 leading to Ramalina farinacea and 11 to Ramalina pollinaria s. lat.

9(8) Soralia oval or round, strictly delimited ........................................................................................... 10
Soralia spreading and ± irregular ..................................................................................................... 11


Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 pm
by Neil Sanderson
Probably my last comment on the Ramalina pollinaria group. One thing I noticed was that the LBGI 2 described the aggregate as
Medulla and soralia C–, K–, KC–, Pd–, UV± blue-white (usnic acid; evernic acid complex sometimes present)
While Gasparyan et al (2017) ... 2917000226 described it as UV –, although agreeing on the chemistry. Most of what I am calling Ramalina europaea or Ramalina pollinaria does have a distinct pale violet-grey UV florescence from the soralia. To check I have had a look at Evernia prunastri, which also has evernic acid. The LBGI 2 gives this as UV -, and the soralia are this, but if you dig through the cortex into the medulla then, yes the medulla is also UV + pale violet-grey but weaker than in the Ramalina species. So I think the LGBI 2 was correct that the Ramalina pollinaria group can have UV florescence from evernic acid.

This UV + florescence is a good field indication to a specimen being potential from the Ramalina pollinaria group, but not definitive as Ramalina canariensis and sometimes Ramalina farinacea can be UV +.

In Mark's UV intensity notation (marks out of 5) Ramalina europaea and Ramalina pollinaria are, medulla and soralia UV + pale violet-grey ***

Evernia prunastri is medulla UV + pale violet-grey *


Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:06 pm
by Neil Sanderson
OK not my last post; I could not resist trying to photograph the florescence.

Evernia prunastri with part of the medulla exposed under UV light, showing the florescence from evernic acid from the medulla

Ramalina europaea showing the florescence from evernic acid from the soralia


Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:50 pm
by maxieput901
This is all very helpful, Neil. On and close to the coasts here (Ilfracombe, Croyde, Woolacombe, Saunton) we have been recording R. canariensis, R. subfarinacea and R. lacera in addition to great quantities of R. siliquosa and R. farinacea and most certainly have failed to identify R. pollinaria due to the quantities involved. Your findings re UV reactions will be most useful especially being able to use Evernia as a comparison.

Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2023 11:50 pm
by JennyS
Hi Neil, I found this thread this evening when I was trying to sort out my odd Ramalina ?pusilla specimens and their K+ reactions. Haven't had the confidence to try identifying Ramalina pollinaria s.l before but I tried the three below:

Q1. Dorset on Oak branch, possibly Ramalina europaea?
Soralia +/- irregular, some (but not all) spiny branchlets with soredia at the tips, K-, UV-
w Ramalina Q1 231118 016.jpg
w Ramalina Q1 231118 017.jpg
w Ramalina Q1 231118 005.jpg

Q2. Dorset on Oak twig. Had thought R. europaea but cortex and medulla reacted K+ pink to reddish-brown!
Soralia on branches but not near thallus base, some spreading and irregular and many spiny branchlets from the thallus base with curled, sorediate tips. First UV check gave soredia UV+ pale mauve but when I checked again to photograph there was no UV reaction. Can't make any sense of the K+ reaction.
w Ramalina europaea q 231117-2 006 qK+.jpg
w Ramalina europaea q 231117 011 K+.jpg
Q3. Herbarium specimen from SW Ireland, 2009. Ramalina pollinaria sens lat?
Soredia UV+ mauve, photographing +blue on table but +mauve on white paper.
w Ramalina pollinaria q 231117 025 IRE.jpg
w Ramalina pollinaria q 231117 029 UV+.jpg
w Ramalina pollinaria q 231117 033 UV+.jpg

Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2023 5:46 pm
A morph of Ramalina farinacea?

Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2023 6:18 pm
by JennyS
Yes, that's very possible - and reminds me of why I've always steered clear of trying to identify R. pollinaria sens lat!

Re: Ramalina europaea in Britain

Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2023 1:45 pm
by Neil Sanderson
It seems to be very difficult to partition between more fine Ramalina farinacea morphs and R. pollinaria s. lat. The best guide that I can make out is the sorlia remain delimited and elliptical in the former and they extend and become irregular in the latter (which is the distinctive character listed in the LGBI key to distinguish them). I avoid recording R. pollinaria s. lat. now unless the feature is clear. The spiny branchlets frequently occur on Ramalina farinacea as well, I think, so are not very helpful.