Eastern Candlewax Lichen

(Ahtiana aurescens)

Conservation Status
Eastern Candlewax Lichen
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

S3 - Vulnerable

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Eastern Candlewax Lichen is a medium-sized lichen that grows on the bark of cedar and pine trees, rarely on hardwood trees. It is found in undisturbed old growth forests, where the dense shade, high humidity, and the texture of the substrate (bark), combine to create ideal conditions for its proliferation. In Minnesota, it is usually found in northern white cedar swamps. It often grows alongside American Starburst Lichen (Imshaugia placorodia) on pine trees.

The vegetative body (thallus) is leaf-like (foliose) and divided into large branches (lobes). It grows close to but loosely attached to the substrate (bark) by short, pale, sparse to abundant, anchoring structures (rhizines). The lobes may be flat and branching or crowded and overlapping. The upper surface is yellowish-green and usually wrinkled. It does not have powdery dull granules (soredia), shiny granules (isidia), or a chalky or “frosted” surface (pruina). The lower surface is pale brown, smooth, and shiny. Small, lobe-like reproductive structures (lobules) are usually produced on the margins of the lobes. The lobules are round and 1 64 to 1 16 (0.5 to 2 mm) in diameter.

Disk-like, spore-producing structures (apothecia) are usually abundant. The disks are 1 16to ¼ (2 to 7 mm) in diameter, reddish-brown, slightly raised, and shaped like a plate. They appear near the margins on the upper surface. Each disk has a ring of tissue around it that resembles the tissue of the vegetative (non-fruiting) part of the lichen. There are also tiny, globular chambers (pycnidia) embedded in the thallus with an opening through which fungal spores are released. The pycnidia look like black pinpricks in the thalus and are very conspicuous.

The photosynthetic partner (photobiont) is green and may be Trebouxia, but lichen photobionts are difficult to identify.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Yellow Ribbon Lichen (Allocetraria oakesiana) has yellowish granules (soredia) on the margins.  
     
 
Biology
 
 

Substrate

 
 

Trees

 
     
 

Growth Form

 
 

Foliose

 
     
 

Habitat

 
 

Old growth forests.

 
     
 

Hosts

 
 

Cedar and pine trees.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 6, 24, 26, 29, 30, 72, 77.

The records from Rosseau and Lake of the Woods Counties were in 1901. Eastern Candlewax Lichen is now considered “possibly extirpated” in those counties.

 
  5/29/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Ascomycota (sac fungi)  
  Subphylum Pezizomycotina  
  Class Lecanoromycetes (common lichens)  
  Subclass Lecanoromycetidae  
 

Order

Lecanorales  
 

Suborder

Lecanorineae  
 

Family

Parmeliaceae (shield lichens and allies)  
  Subfamily Parmelioideae  
 

Genus

Ahtiana (candlewax lichens)  
  Mycobiont Ahtiana aurescens  
  Photobiont Trebouxia?  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Cetraria aurescens

Tuckermannopsis aurescens

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Eastern Candlewax Lichen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Apothecium

An open, disk-shaped or cup-shaped, reproductive structure, with spore sacs on the upper surface, that produces spores for the fungal partner of a lichen. Plural: apothecia.

 

Foliose

Adjective: Leaf-like growth form; referring to lichens with leaf-like growths divided into lobes.
Noun: The leaf-like, vegetative body of a lichen (thallus) that has thin, flat lobes which are free from the substrate.

 

Lobule

A small lobe-like subdivision of a lobe. In lichens, a small lobe-like, asexual, reproductive structure produced at the edge of a lobe, breaks off, and reestablishes elsewhere.

 

Photobiont

The photosynthetic partner of a lichen; either green algae or cyanobacteria.

 

Pruina

On lichens, a thin, powdery or crystaline deposit on the surface of the thalus. It may appear chalky or frosty, and is usually white, gray, or bluish.

 

Rhizine

A root-like structure of a lichen that attaches the lower layer to the substrate.

 

Soredium

The reproductive structure of a lichen consisting of a cluster of algal cells (the photobiont) wrapped in fungal filaments (the mycobiont). Plural: soredia.

 

Thallus

The vegetative body of a lichen composed of both the alga and the fungus.

 
 
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Luciearl

 
    Eastern Candlewax Lichen      
           
 
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  Luciearl
8/29/2018

Location: Cass County

Eastern Candlewax Lichen  
           
 
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Created: 9/16/2018

Last Updated:

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