Coral Lichen - Cladia retipora

Also referred to as Snow Lichen, Cladia retipora is a fruticose (shrubby) lichen that grows on the ground and is native to Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. It sometimes grows in pulvinate clumps (like cushion), often with moss, forming large mats resembling a layer of snow. 

The branches have delicate open-work structure. The three dimensional network of holes are called fenestrations, hence the common name of Coral Lichen. This lichen is usually white to pale grey and sometimes there is a yellowing at tips. The tiny brownish-red tips on the branches are the fungal component’s fruiting bodies called apothecia. These produce the spores.

In Australia this lichen can be found in Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, and Tasmania.

The Coral Lichen was the first Australian lichen to be described in a scientific publication, the second volume of Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen (Labillardie, 1806). Labillardie classified it as an alga, and named it Baeomyces reteporus; it was later classified as a lichen.

Besides its beautiful structure, and the attractive landscapes that this lichen creates in the fields where it grows, Cladia retipora has pharmacological properties (its extracts show antimicrobial, cytotoxic and antiviral activity), and is also one of the species being used to monitor fluoride pollution around an aluminum smelter in New Zealand.

[Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae - Cladia - C. retipora]

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Kevin Wells | Locality: Tasmania, 2013] - [Middle-top: ©Kok van Herk | Locality: Australia] - [Middle-bottom: ©Vanessa Ryan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Sleepy Bay Walk, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, 2014] - [Bottom: ©Danya Rose | Locality: Blackbutt Plateau, New South Wales, Australia, 2007]

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Evernia prunastri
Family: Parmeliaceae (Lecanoromycetes)
Genus: Evernia
Species: E. prunastri
Common Name: Oakmoss
Location: NT378632
Habitat: This common lichen grows on both broadleaved and coniferous trees. It has a highly branched structure and is pale green on top, white on bottom. It reproduces with small fluffy soredia at the edges of the thallus.
Determiner: Ewan Cole
Authority: (L.) Ach.

Pincushion Sunburst Lichen - Xanthoria polycarpa 

Xanthoria polycarpa is a lichenized fungi with foliose thallus (the vegetative body) forming small cushions up to 3 cm wide or larger colonies, with short and narrow, convex lobes, frequently almost completely covered with apothecia (the fruiting bodies, cup-like in this species).

Xanthoria polycarpa is widespread on nutrient-enriched trees, especially on small twigs where it forms clusters of apothecia in axils of branches; becoming common as an indicator of nitrogen deposition.

This species has circumpolar distribution extending into temperate regions. It is very widespread and, because of its bright yellow-orange color, easy to identify.

[Fungi - Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Teloschistales - Teloschistaceae - XanthoriaXanthoria polycarpa (Hoffm.) Th. Fr. ex Rieber]

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Richard Droker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: not indicated (2009)

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Trumpet Lichen - Cladonia fimbriata 

This photo shows a macro view of the Trumpet Lichen, Cladonia fimbriata, a species with worldwide distribution. The cups are generally symmetrical and often bear fimbriate proliferations on the margin. 

Reference: [1]

[Fungi - Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae - CladoniaCladonia fimbriata]

Photo credit: ©Henk Wallays | Locality: Knesselare, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium (2010)

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Lichen - Lobaria virens

Lobaria virens (Peltigerales - Lobariaceae) is a large, foliose lichen of shady sites in old woodlands, dull grey or yellow-green when dry but bright grass-green when wet. Apothecia (the fruiting bodies of the fungi) are usually abundant, and when young appear as volcano-like swellings which open out to expose the brown disc with a warted margin.

This lichen is only known from western Europe and Micronesia.

[Fungi - Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Peltigerales - Lobariaceae - Lobaria - L. virens]

References: [1

Photo credits: [Top: ©Curiosity thrills | Locality: Ardechive, Scotland, UK, 2013] - [Bottom: ©Annelie Burghause (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Carran, Clare, Ireland, 2009]

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Maritime Sunburst Lichen

Xanthoria parietina on a live branch of Common hazel (Corylus avellana).

Xanthoria parietina (Teloschistaceae) is a conspicuous yellow foliose lichen that contain a compound that acts as both a sunscreen for the algal partner and also protects them from harmful UV rays. Hence this species is often found in sunny exposed places.

This lichen is tolerant of high levels of nitrogen, especially ammonia, and is common on trees and buildings near farmland. So, Xanthoria parietina can be used as a monitor for nitrogen in the atmosphere.

The species is widespread over Britain, Europe and America but in tropical countries and in Australia it is rather rare. 

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Erminio Ferrari

Locality: unknown

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Flaky Freckle Pelt Lichen - Peltigera britannica

Also referred to as British Felt Lichen, Peltigera britannica (Peltigerales - Peltigeraceae) is a foliose lichen with some outstanding features. This species consists of symbiotic partners from three different forms of life, a green algae (Chlorophyta), a cyanobacteria, and fungal cells.

The green color is from the green algae Coccomyxa which forms a layer beneath the upper cortex of fungal cells. The dark specs are “cephalodia” of fungal cells with the cyanobacteria Nostoc.  

It is also interesting that the number of heterocysts in the Nostoc, specialized cells which fix nitrogen, is greatly increased in the lichen as compared with what is found in free-living Nostoc. Lichen fungi are able to alter their photosymbionic partners for their own purposes.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Richard Droker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Deception Pass area, Washington state, US (2009)

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Cup lichen

A beautiful macro view of the lichen Cladonia coccifera (Cladoniaceae) growing on the moderately well-manured, sandy H-pad of the Yuganskiy nature reserve HQ, Yugra, Western Siberia, Russia.

This lichen is characteristic by their red cup shaped fruit body (apothecium).

Cladonia coccifera inhabits on humus-rich soils, occasionally on wood, in mountain woodlands. It can be found in arctic to temperate regions in Asia, Europe, North and South America (along the Andes).

Reference: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Tatiana Bulyonkava

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Hygrocybe saltorivula | ©Steve Axford 

Hygrocybe saltorivula, a colorful mushroom in the family Hygrophoraceae, recorded from south-east of Australia and Tanzania.

The lichen seems to be Cladia retipora (Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae).

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Cladonia cristatella (British Soldier Lichen) | ©Roy Cohutta    (Calhoun County, Southwest Georgia, US)

British Soldiers is a lichen which gets its name from its resemblance to the uniforms worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War. 

The fungus in British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella. The algae is known as Trebouxia erici. Because lichens take the name of the fungus part of the relationship, British Soldiers is called Cladonia cristatella.

Cladonia cristatella (Lecanorales - Cladoniaceae) can usually be found growing on decaying wood, soil, mossy logs, tree bases, and stumps.

In the photo, one of the podetia (stalks) on the left side is broken (red apothecia absent on top), showing how the podetia are hollow. 


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Lichen - Pseudocyphellaria homoeophylla

Pseudocyphellaria homoeophylla is a foliose lichen having flattened, leaf-like lobes with distinct upper and lower surfaces. It is a polymorphic and wide-ranging species, which is endemic to New Zealand forests.

It has been proven that extract of Pseudocyphellaria homoeophylla has high antimicrobial, cytotoxic and antiviral activities.

[Fungi - Ascomycota - Lecanoromycetes - Peltigerales - Lobariaceae - Pseudocyphellaria - P. homoeophylla]

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Steve Reekie | Locality: Aotearoa, New Zealand (2009)

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Xanthoria parietina
Family: Teloschistaceae (Lecanoromycetes)
Genus: Xanthoria
Species: X. parietina
Common Name: Common Orange/Yellow Lichen
Location: NT378632
Habitat: This foliose lichen is very common and usually grows on stone, but can also be found on dead/living trees. The species reproduces via apothecia and has small pale rhizoids, when KOH stain tested, the thallus turns bright scarlet. Don’t get confused between this and Xanthoria polycarpa, which is smaller. The colour can vary depending on sunlight and pollution levels - A grey shade indicates stress.
Determiner: Ewan Cole
Authority: (L.) Th. Fr