Saturday 23 December 2017

Parmelina pastillifera

Many, many years ago, in the dim and distant past,  I used to lump all large grey foliose lichens growing tree branches, wood or  acid rock as "Parmelia saxatilis" - (Crottle or Stony Rag). ("Large" means having lobes that are greater than 7mm wide). 

O lazy, lazy me.

But nowadays I am more discerning.

Parmelina pastillifera

Parmelia saxatilis

This post is devoted to stories of my findings of Parmelina pastillifera. This species was uncommon once, but like many other lichen species it is spreading as the air has much less SO2 pollution now.
 Differences between the two species:

Parmelina pastilliferaParmelia saxatilis
No pseudocyphellae on thallus
Pseudocyphellae present (=whitish ridges on the thallus) 
Isidia presentIsidia present (= lots of wart like projections that are a means of vegetative reproduction.)
The isidia are black/dark blue and are button shaped (mushroom shaped- a dark blob on a narrower stalk.) and thinly scattered on the thallusThe isidia are grey or dark grey, and finger tip shaped and are on the older parts of the thallus and can be very concentrated and numerous if the thallus is old.
Lobes indented with rounded axils

This is what it says on the Last Dragon web site:

A foliose lichen forming rosettes, lobes grey to blue-grey, often brownish towards lobe margins (as in Hypotrachyna), slightly lustrous, surface faintly marbled, usually developing conspicuous, button-like, blue-black or black isidia; apothecia apparently unknown in Britain. Widespread and locally frequent, especially in the south and west, generally on nutrient-rich bark, sometimes on rocks and other substrates.

I first discovered Parmelina pastillifera on a Rowan Tree on the grass triangle area beside the bridge beside Horton in Ribblesdale church in 2014, and keyed it out.  

(N.B. I revisited the same tree in 2019 only to discover the lower limbs which supported the lichen had been cut off. Oh well! )

The following year I attended Allan Pentecost's course at Malham Tarn Field Centre. We were delighted to find Parmelina pastillifera .. on the moribund Slapton Minibus at Malham Tarn Field Centre beside High Stables. He pointed out that it was a new record for the Field Centre, and for the hectad (10 km square).

The minibus remained there for two years - serving a useful storage function for Field Centre bits and pieces, and potential minibus parts, and an excellent beautiful example of colonisation substrate with wonderful textures

Pictures from August 2015:

Location of the van:

Vans in the foreground. It was the van on the right as you look at it. See Allan and students in the background studying scree looking for Farnoldia lichen

See vans in background by High Stables

Parmelina pastillifera on van

Parmelina pastillifera on van

Parmelina pastillifera on van

Snail trail on van

Pictures of the same van in November 2016:

Campylopus introflexus (From Australia)- this moss gets everywhere

I think this photo is a splendid example of different textures .. from the snail tracks to the reflection of the trees in the window
Don't you?
See how the algae are increasing

In my jogging / walking locally I have seen it on the stone wall on the road at Knight Stainforth, just near above the cafe.

The YNU trip to Marwick in Swaledale (14/05/2016) I stopped at some trees by the river Swale. and discovered Parmelina pastillifera's sister species: Parmelina tiliacea, P.tiliacea has isidia that are coraloid rather than button shaped.

Finally whilst going for a botany walk this December 2017 with members of PBA-Applied Ecology we found it on the gate just opposite the road from their office.

I saw the big foliose grey lichen and thought "Right, I'll show them the very common Parmelia saxatilis, it will be useful for them to know.

But lo, it turned out to be Parmelina pastillifera

P pastillifera on gate opposite PBA - Stackhouse Lane, 1/2 mile from Giggleswick/Settle

P pastillifera on gate opposite PBA - Stackhouse Lane, 1/2 mile from Giggleswick/Settle

In March 2019 I found it at Malham village Car Park  on a tree I had surveyed c 10 year earlier (it had not been there then)

In May 2019 I found it on a wall under a tree in a hedge and in the tree

In July I found it on a bough of a tree in the parkland of Plas Cadnant on the 2019 BLS Anglesey trip

Parmelina pastillifera on Ash tree at Plas Cadnant, Anglesey
Actually that is the only place we found it on Anglesey - though it was an amazing tree I found it on with 16 species on one branch.

Sunday 17 December 2017

NWNU Mosses and Lichens Walk from Penyghent Gill to Slit Cave and Snorkel Cave

11 November 2017: The North West Naturalists Union Lower Plants group organises a trip once a month. Occasionally they get across into Yorkshire.  In fact this trip is conveniently in the catchment of the River Wharfe so that it can form part of Gordon Haycock's survey of the Mosses of Wharfedale.
Studying mosses as we leave the cars 
at Pen-y-ghent Gill near Giants Grave.

On the way we search for Zygodon gracilis  It does look like other Zygodons but is a bit bigger.
As we study mosses in a wet flush, a fleet of four  four-wheel drives go past.

A lichen on limestone

Cladonia pyxidata on acid rock in wall

Look how there are more lichens on the tops of the wall. The stones here are mostly sandstone from the Yoredale series, with occasional limestone stones included. See the sheepfold lower down. We will later have lunch on the green grass in the shelter of the wall near the sheep fold.

Splendid fossil in the wall - Colonial fossils

More fossils
Here is some Hypogymnia on sandstone
Physcia dubia
See how the mosses are growing below the post.  
This repeated itself all the way along the wall, 
over and over again.

I know! It is because birds perch on the posts 
and add extra nutrients

Indeed look what is growing on the post - The filamentous alga Klebsormidium crenulatum! It is growing on the SE side - but also on the "underside" of the sloping post, where more water and nutrients may drain to.

And on the top wall stone - evidence of birds themselves

With a piece of Xanthoria parietina (orange lichen)

We descended past Slit Cave - Those slippery wooden slats on the stream bed at the left of the picture cover..  a hole.

I find this strange fungus - Cordyceps - growing out af an insect it has parasitized

Her is bird's-eye Primrose - on 11 11 2017 -November!!

And we continue down, down down the side gill

Another lichen

And another on the first tree we have come across, at the bottom of the gill - Hypogymnia physodes.

We meet the Penyghent Gill Stream at the bottom and then have a long vigorous 3km walk back along the side of the gill whilst daylight lasted. I slither to a horizontal position in the mud at one point objecting violently..( but it does mean that I later give my jacket a long needed wash) We return to the cars as night falls.  Thank you  Gordon for organising the event and thank you to the others - Mike, Sam and Clare for coming.  

Sunday 10 December 2017

Settle and Lakeland Voices on the Settle Carlisle Line - 9 Dec 2017 - Pictures and videos.

Happy Christmas 2017 all!!

Two choirs meet:
Settle Voices:  Settle to Ribblehead Station and back..
Lakeland Voices: Langwathby to Ribblehead to Settle to Langwathby..

(See record of some earlier years - just the Settle part

Settle Voices meet and sing at Settle Railways Station at 10.15 on Sat 9th Dec 2017. There is snow on the fields, but the station platform has been cleared. And there are sherry and mince-pies inside the waiting room.

This is a Judith and Althea (in red) adventure 
Meanwhile, Judith, the photographer, nips off to the
Operatic Society Coffee Morning (not shown)
(where I win some smelly body lotions stuff on the tombola)

 then to the Catholic Craft Fayre : above
(where I win a mystery raffle prize yet to be claimed)
and buy a Christmas Cake

Then off to Giggleswick Parish Church Christmas Event,
where I win a small bottle of water on the tombola. Hmmm did not make much on that...

Giggleswick Church

By 1.40pm the choir have  crossed the platform and are about to alight on the train to Ribblehead
Singing on the train:

 Here we meet the Lakeland Voices and crammed into the waiting room.
David led the singing in the Waiting Room.--

Ribblehead Waiting Room
 The singers sang silent night in four different languages. 
I met a real passenger in the adjacent room /cafe staffed by volunteers. - A young Latvian lady working in IT in Birmingham .. She was up for a walking weekend at Settle to see more of the UK - and had just climbed Whernside that morning.  I tried (but failed) to get her to go and sing "Silent night" in Latvian.

While some singers ate Christmas Cake and cheese at the railway station, other brave souls trecked down the icy track across to the pub

Where we entertained those having lunch.

We left the pub

and walked up the track back to the station

And what is this green velvety alga growing on the fence-posts?

Why, it's the green filamentous alga Klebsormidium crenulatum.  The presence of this alga shows that there is nitrogen pollution in the air: (NO2 or Ammonia). We are a long way from where it may be coming from - the pig farms and intensive farming of East Yorshire, and from the motorways , car full roads and industries of West Yorkshire and Lancashire - but  the heavy rainfall, drizzle - and today  fine snow - that capture the NO2 from the air,  mean  that the Pennines get more NO2 pollution than the lowlands. It acts like a fertilizer for this alga which grows especially well.

Look out for Klebsormidium on your walks.

Returning to Ribblehead Station

We have a good trip down on the train, singing on the way.

Then at Settle we repair to the Royal Oak

David Burbidge of Sedbergh leads the Lakeland Voices in a rendering of the Slovenian Folk carol that Sedbergh's twin town in Slovenia taught them.

A group from Lancashire sing their joyful carols
Two views
-yes they have a big morror at the Royal Oak

At 6.30 the Lakeland Voices have soup at the Royal Oak..

..whilst Settle voices go over the road to take part in Settle Parish Church Community Carol Concert..

Seems a long time since we set off this morning

Big thanks to our leaders - Janet Russell and David Burbidge

(See record of some earlier years - just the Settle part)