pf339's picture

Lichen (j) (i)

Observed: 5th December 2011 By: pf339
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
pf339’s reputation in Fungi and Lichenspf339’s reputation in Fungi and Lichenspf339’s reputation in Fungi and Lichenspf339’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
Lichen (j) (i)
Lichen (j) (ii)

Foliose/fruticose lichen. Flat branched lobes. Green top surface, white bottom surface. Growing on trunk of deciduous tree. (Possibly Evernia prunastri which appears in different keys described as fruticose and foliose. I wonder if its structure is on the borderline or if there are two forms with structural differences.)


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

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

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Brian Cambridgeshire's picture

And the others in picture 1..

I agree with Evernia prunastri (the diagnostic feature is, it's white underneath, contrasting with the grey or greenish above, unlike the otherwise-similar Ramalina species).

At the top of your picture, the olive-brown leafy lichen is Melanelixia (formerly Parmelia) fuliginosa subsp. glabratula, and the greyish leafy one to the top left is Parmelia sp., probably sulcata. The small yellow lichens are Xanthoria sp., the largest one at the right is probably X. parietina.

pf339's picture

Other lichens in picture 1

Thank you for help with identification and especially for identifying the other lichens in picture 1. I'm seeing one lichen that catches my attention and missing lots of others! Very grateful for your comment which will help make me look more carefully.

AlanS's picture

Foliose/fruticose (& Melanelixia ID)

Evernia is a foliose lichen that happens to have narrow lobes that stand away from the substrate. The key character is that it has separate and distinct upper and lower cortexes (cortices?), i.e. the green-grey upper skin and the white lower skin. So structurally it is like other foliose species even though it is often but wrongly described as fruticose.

Ramalina species have a single cortex all round, but the branches are flattened and so look like the lobes of a foliose species.

Incidentally, I agree with Brian's other IDs except the Melanelixia. One has to look at the isidia to be sure, and they are too small to be visible in the photograph, but on lobe shape and less glossy appearance I feel reasonably sure the Melanelixia in the photograph is M. subaurifera, not M. glabratula (which has recently been declared, on DNA work, to be a separate species from M. fuliginosa, and rightly so).

pf339's picture


Thank you for the helpful information and for your help in identifying the other lichens I have been posting on iSpot recently. It's encouraging to have an identification confirmed and helpful to have indicated the details I've missed or not recognised.
Background to my wondering about foliose/fruticose identity:
Last week I purchased some field guides from the Field Studies Council. In their 'Guide to common urban lichens 1 (on trees and wood)' Evernia prunastri is number 4 and classified in the foliose section and foliose list. In their 'Key to lichens on twigs' Evernia prunastri is number 47 and classified in the fruticose section and fruticose list.

AlanS's picture


Although Evernia prunastri is structurally foliose, it is easily taken to be fruticose, so it is undoubtedly helpful to include it in a fruticose key.