Refugee's picture

Cladonia pyxidata

Observed: 19th February 2012 By: RefugeeRefugee’s reputation in Fungi and LichensRefugee’s reputation in Fungi and LichensRefugee’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
Caladonia
Cladonia pyxidata
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Description:

This is growing on coal slag and even out of bits of coal and not the usual woody substrate. There were many specimens to choose from. The cups looked a bit deep for most Cladonia but pyxidata looks reasonably close enough for me to go for it. The keys did not help me too much but starting with cup lichen in the search ispot and then Cladonia got me there after a while.
We are back in that slag garden again!

Identifications

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.

Comments

Refugee's picture

Confusion species

It looks like this may be the case here. If so the ones growing through moss between bits of coal slag are pyxidata and the ones growing directly out of bits of coal are Humilis.

Refugee

synan's picture

I don't think so

There may well be more than one species here, but I don't see evidence for C. pyxidata.

I can see no course granules in the cups (except perhaps for one podetium in pic 6). Many podetia appear sorediate and C. pyxidata doesn't have soredia. The basal squamules seem too large and many of the cups too stunted. Also, C. pyxidata "very rarely has proliferations around the margins" and a lot of podetia here do.

Testing with potassium hydroxide should distinguish between C. humilis (positive: yellow) and C. pyxidata (negative) or C. chlorophaea (usually K-).

Edit: I think pic 2, at least, could be C. chlorophaea agg. You could have 2-3 species here. I might come back to this and consider each picture individually - if I find the time!

Nigel

Refugee's picture

Interesting site

I used to think that lichens only grew in low pollution habitat and felt that i would be unlikely to find anything like this on my patch. Fly Agarics come up like dinner plates on the older slag heaps where it is beginning to get more long lived trees like sweet chestnut and so on with all the hooves and polypores. We could get to four if we count the orange one i found close by and got correct first time with the key. 20 quid of tax in the tank is a bit much for you to travel to the location though. Perhaps a bit of advice and another visit to the site with my £99 camera and some more coaxing on my part might be the answer.

Refugee

synan's picture

A rethink

I now think most of this is C. chlorophaea (aggregate). We were both trying to make all 9 pictures fit one species, and it's the wide, short cups in pic. 6 that led my down the C. humilis route. Of course, I can't be certain, and due to the possibility of more than one species (several often grow together), it's probably best left at genus level for now, in the hope that an expert will drop by.

I live in a fairly polluted area too, but still find lichens to study. Some are more tollerant of pollution than others. A trip to the Lake District last week showed me what I'm missing out on - a far richer lichen community, presumably due to the cleaner air.

Cladonia is a horrific genus, with individual species showing huge variation. Keying them out is often hard and usually requires chemical testing, but don't be deterred. If you do revisit, or find more elsewhere, try to take some side-on photos to show the shape and exterior of the cups. This isn't always easy when they are at a low level. You could also take small samples to study at home. Most importantly, enjoy it!

Nigel

Refugee's picture

Samples

There is quite a lot of it and many of the bits of slag can be moved so that an almost undisturbed specimen could be carried home and placed in a part of the garden where it can carry on growing once good images have been taken. I took plenty of pictures as i am aware of difficulties with lichens and took a stab at it myself. I do not specialize in anything on here so you are likely to see more seasonal variation in my observations than anything else.

Refugee

Refugee's picture

Second visit

I have added a new first picture and some more taken in bright sun light.
Pictures 11-15 are side views of two bits that was on compressed coal dust that could be moved.
Pictures 16-19 show just how locally common it is.
There is even one bit that looks like it is growing out of a stick.
The only other thing about the area is that there are one or two Rabbit dung stations. The Rabbits feed on Weld and the odd bit of grass and have warrens at the extreme edges of the site.

Refugee

Refugee's picture

Cladonia pyxidata

Pictures 2 and 4 are the ones that led me to ID the observation as Cladonia pyxidata.

Refugee

Refugee's picture

Location

I have also checked the pin in the map and moved it a few yards north based on the location of a small water mark on the slag heap that can be seen on the satellite map.
This has changed the street location to the road at the north end of the slag heap.

Refugee

synan's picture

Great new pics

In my opinion, the side-on views reinforce my original case for C. humilis. I feel sure pic. 1 is this species, with its large squamules and short but wide cups, and probably the sunlit specimen on the post too. Testing with KOH or NaOH (caustic soda) solution might confirm this; it should turn yellow for C. humilis. Some shots may contain C. chlorophaea, but I am now less confident of this because none of my own photos of C. chlorophaea have basal squamules this large. I still see no convincing C. pyxidata.

Nigel

AlanS's picture

I agree with the thinking

Yes, I would call the whole lot "C. chlorophaea agg.", but on the basis that C. humilis is part of this aggregate.

At least some may well be C. humilis, but as Nigel says, testing is needed.

I also see no convincing C. pyxidata - which is generally less common in Britain than many assume.

Alan

Refugee's picture

It is a big patch

This is on coal slag and common orange Lichen appears not to grow on iron rich limestone however it does grow on the bits that have been in contact with the coal seam. The coal is humus all be it fossilized. Very difficult to work out the substrate it is growing on. Some lichens that grow on trees can grow here.
The photos were taken wet and on a second visit dry.
The higher image numbers you see when you hover the mouse pointer over the images are the dry ones.

Refugee