Elegant Sunburst Lichen

(Xanthoria elegans)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Elegant Sunburst Lichen

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Extremely widespread and very common

Substrate

On rock. Humid to dry.

Growth Form

Foliose

 

 

    Photo by Luciearl

Identification

This is an extremely widespread and very common lichen. It is found on all continents except Australia. It grows on rocks in humid to dry micro climates. It is common on rocky shores, especially where bird droppings provide nitrogen for its sustenance. It is very common on the rocky shores of Lake Superior. It is very long lived and very slow growing: it grows at a consistent rate of 1 64 (0.5 mm) per year for the first hundred years before slowing down a bit.

The vegetative body (thallus) is leaf-like (foliose) and divided into small branches (lobes). It forms colonies up to 2½ in diameter. It grows very closely attached to the substrate (rock) but does not have root-like structures (rhizines). The lobes are convex, narrow, rounded to flattened at the tip, and 1 64 to 1 16 wide. They grow tightly connected to adjacent lobes and are so small that the lichen may at appear crusty (crusticose), especially near the center. The color of the upper surface varies with the amount of moisture available: in streams it is yellowish-orange, on rocks out of water it is orange, and in dry areas it is dark reddish-orange. The lower surface is white and somewhat wrinkled. Occasionally there are short, peg-like structures (hapters) attaching the thallus to the substrate.

Disk-like, spore-producing structures (apothecia) are common, often abundant, sometimes absent. The disks are 1 32 to (2 to 7 mm) in diameter, slightly raised, shaped like a plate, and the same color as the thallus. Xanthoria elegans var. splendens, the variety found in Minnesota, does not produce powdery dull granules (soredia) or shiny granules (isidia).

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.


Comments

Taxonomy
A study published in 2003 transferred this species to the closely-related genus Rusavskia. This move was accepted by many—but not all—authorities. Both names are now widely in use.


Taxonomy

Division:

Ascomycota (sac fungi)

 

No Rank:

saccharomyceta

 

Subdivision:

Pezizomycotina

 

No Rank:

leotiomyceta

 

Class:

Lecanoromycetes

 

Subclass:

Lecanoromycetidae

 

Order:

Teloschistales

 

Suborder:

Teloschistineae

 

Family:

Teloschistaceae

 

Subfamily:

Xanthorioideae

 
Subordinate Taxa

Elegant Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans var. elegans)

Elegant Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans var. granulifera)

Elegant Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans var. splendens)

 
Synonyms

Caloplaca elegans

Gasparrinia elegans

Lecanora elegans

Lichen elegans

Parmelia elegans

Physcia elegans

Rusavskia elegans

Zanthoria elegans

 
Common
Names

Elegant Orange Wall Lichen

Elegant Sunburst 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.

 

Crusticose

Crusty; referring to lichens in such close contact with the rock surface (substrate) that it appears sprayed on like paint.

 

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.

 

Rhizine

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

 

Thallus

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

       

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Luciearl


  Elegant Sunburst Lichen    

       
       
       

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  Today I learned about: elegant sunburst lichen 🔆
Ashley Houghton
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 25, 2017

Who knew lichen could be so elegant? The scientific name is Xanthoria elegans, while the common name is elegant sunburst lichen 🔅🔅🔅

 
     

 

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Luciearl
9/26/2018

Location:

Cass County

Elegant Sunburst Lichen



     
     
 

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