Whitewash Lichen

(Phlyctis argena)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Whitewash Lichen

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Very common

Habitat/Hosts

Bark. Oak and other deciduous trees.

 

 

    Photo by Luciearl

Identification

Whitewash Lichen is very common in Europe and North America. In the United States it occurs in the Pacific northwest and in the northeast from the East Coast to the Great Lakes region. It grows in very close contact with the substrate (crusticose) on the bark of oak and other deciduous trees, rarely on conifers, and rarely on rock. It neither harms nor benefits the tree.

The vegetative body may be thick or thin, small or large. It may appear as a small, well-defined patch with a distinct pale border, or as a large, irregular patch with diffuse pale edges, like a smear of paint. It consists of a central, vegetative portion containing both the algal and fungal partners (thallus), and a border with just the fungal partner (prothallus). The thallus is pale grayish-green or greenish white when fresh. It may be thin and smooth or thick, rough, and cracked. As it ages, the surface becomes gray and/or white, and it develops minute, pale green to bluish-green balls of cells (soredia). The soredia are fine, but they clump together forming coarse granules on the surface. When the thallus is thin the soredia are sparse. When the thallus is thick, the soredia are dense and cover the center. The structures that produce the soredia (soralia) are pale yellow to greenish-white, up to in diameter, and usually have a raised rim. As the lichen ages, the soralia erode, leaving just raised lines.

The thallus is surrounded by by a white, felt-like, and often conspicuous prothallus. The prothallus often forms a conspicuous white border about wide.

Disk-like, spore-producing structures (apothecia) are extremely uncommon. When present, they are minute, 1 64 to 3 64 (0.2 to 0.4 mm) in diameter, gray to black, and flush with the surface of the thallus, sometimes hidden by it.

 
Similar
Species

Common Button Lichen (Buellia stillingiana) apothecia are very common, more abundant, and larger.


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Division:

Ascomycota (sac fungi)

 

No Rank:

saccharomyceta

 

Subdivision:

Pezizomycotina

 

No Rank:

leotiomyceta

 

Class:

Lecanoromycetes

 

Subclass:

Ostropomycetidae

 

Order:

Ostropales

 

Family:

Phlyctidaceae

 

Mycobiont:

Phlyctis argena

 

Photobiont:

 

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Whitewash 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.

 

Prothallus

The border of a lichen where the fungal partner is growing but the algal partner is not. The color is different than the thallus due the absence of the algae.

 

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. Plural: thalli.

       

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Luciearl


  Whitewash Lichen   Whitewash Lichen

       
       
       

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Luciearl
11/19/2018

Location: Fairview Township, Cass County

Whitewash Lichen


     
     
 

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