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Peltigera canina

Observed: 24th September 2011 By: NBAfanNBAfan’s reputation in Fungi and LichensNBAfan’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
Peltigera canina

The dried up samples. The top surface is strewn lightly.


Caution: Do NOT use iSpot to identify fungi to eat!

Some fungi are very poisonous so a mistaken ID could have serious consequences.

  • Peltigera canina
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
  • Dogtooth Lichen (Peltigera canina)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
  • Peltigera degenii
    Confidence: It might be this.
    Likely ID
    Peltigera monticola
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Syrphus's picture

Your comment above has

Your comment above has worried me, Alan. I have always taken the common smooth Peltigera here in N Scotland to be lactucifolia, as my copy of Dobson (2000) has that and hymenina as synonymous. Reading your comment I checked the Gateway and find that the two are mapped separately, and hymenina is the more widespread by far, although the synonymy is clearly complex.

So - a couple of (I hope) simple questions if I may.

What is the status of the two names?

What should I expect to be the very common smooth Peltigera in N Scotland on acid soils in forest rides, moors etc.?



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AlanS's picture

Interesting questions

Hmmm, where do I begin?

In 1776 I think, when Withering described a lichen he called "Lichen lactucifolius". However it was largely forgotten about.

Crombie's British Lichens (1894) used the name Peltigera polydactyla for a rather mixed concept of smooth-surfaced Peltigera species (but including a var. hymenina). This name continued through most of the 1900s, including Ursula Duncan's vitally important lichen flora in 1970.

But with the revival of lichenology in Britain, folks realised that the common, smooth-surfaced species is not, after all, P. polydactylon (now using the correct spelling), and Withering's old name was exhumed and moved to Peltigera. This was the situation in Dobson ed. 4, with P. hymenina still a synonym.

But a revised viewpoint was that nobody could be sure that Withering's "Lichen lactucifolius" really does equate to our common species, so after more than a century as an understudy, the name P. hymenina entered centre stage and is currently the accepted the name.

Effectively, anything called P. lactucifolia in modern times is, or should be P. hymenina. In north Scotland a smooth-surfaced Peltigera is unlikely to be anything else. Also, the great majority of British records of "P. polydactyla", with that spelling, are also P. hymenina.

However, this leaves a couple of problems:

a) True P. polydactylon does occur in Britain, but it is rare and montane (see my website for descripton and photos). Only modern records can be trusted (and then very often not, as the name remains frequently misapplied).

b) P. lactifolia is a valid name, predating P. hymenina, even though nobody knows what it is. Consequently it is still listed in the British Mycological Society database, though with dubious synonymy. From there, it gets into the NBN, and a scattering of records have got in still under that name. (None, it should be noted from the British Lichen Society, and my first step in looking at NBN lichen records is to ignore any other source.)

Or to give a shorter answer:

"P. lactucifolia" is merely a probably misapplied name for what we currently should call "P. hymenina".


Syrphus's picture

Thanks, Alan. That is very

Thanks, Alan. That is very useful, and I will check the status of any records in the HBRG database that may be suspect.



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