Thursday 31 January 2019

Lichens at Painshill Park Surrey with BLS

The British Lichen Society Day Field Trip on 27 January 2019, followed the AGM at Kew, and was  held at Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey. 

Six of us piled into a taxi - row of three facing row of three - good for talking -  and were driven to the park where we met the other four lichenologists.
Lichenologists returning on the far left
Painshill is a beautiful award winning 18th century landscape garden which was created between 1738 and 1733 by the Hon Charles Hamilton.

THIS Account IS CURRENTLY A DRAFT ACCOUNT, and only half written, - whilst I await comments on identification of one or two species by more experienced participants, and find time to write up the second half..

I recorded 47 species - 14 of which were new for me.

  • This is mostly because I come from the north of England so was pleased to see species that are more common in the south..
  • and also because I now have the Seventh edition of Frank Dobson's book, (2018) rather than just the Fifth (2005) . (In the 2005 edition, He says he covers nearly 850 species out of the 1800 species so far recognised in Britain. In 2018 he says he covers more than 1000 species of the 2000 species so far recongnised in Britain.) !!!
  • but mostly because there were experts who could tell me what the species are.
I suspect the group total list will eventually come to nearer 80 or even maybe 100.. We'll see..

(Ah!  110 reported by Friday 1 Feb  !!)


The Day

Paul Cannon tells us that only one lichen record had been sent in from the Park. There is lots of scope for new records! There is a possibility that a A3 road widening scheme will affect the far end of the park so he is keen that we should visit that part too in our walk.

We don't get far. The very first tree in the car park has good specimens of Punctelia subrudecta and Punctelia borreri. Borreri has whiter edges to the thallus (and is black on the undersurface of the thallus
 at the centre , and is much more abundant in the south of England).
These pictures are not always brilliant - and are presented in some cases just as evidence that I saw them.  However for both species you can see the white lumps on the thallus (pseudocyphellae) which burst open to form soralia, and the farinose soredia come out.

Punctelia subrudecta (common all over England): Darker Grey.

Punctelia borreri  (found mostly in the south of UK)

We cross a bridge onto an island 

On the soil near the shore is a Micaria. Any ideas which?

 On top of the island (and leading to the Grotto) are limestone arches. The rocks are oolitic limestone I was told and have been brought from Gloucestershire or Bath.

We find species that I would expect on limestone such as  some of the species that dissolve holes (like verrucas) for their reproductive bodies:- 
e.g. Verrucaria baldensis except that it is not called Verrucaria any more, it is called Bagliettoa baldensis. 

Then I was shown a new one for me: Bagliettoa calceseda - It has a thicker lime impregnated thallus and the surface is uneven, the perithecia - holes - are bigger and have cracks radiating from the perithecia (occasionally) (and have no involucrellum). (It wasn't in Dobson 2005)

Bagliettoa calceseda 

Lecanora crenulata grows on limestone

Lecanora crenulata grows on limestone. The ascocarp border is crenulate and the surface of the ascocarp is pruinose (whitish)

Caloplaca limonia:  pale creamy yellow thallus: convex areoles covered in granular soriedia
(C. limonea was just included in C citrina agg on Dobson 2005)

The yellow is Caloplaca citrina (agg?)  Not areolate. soredia diffuse.
The green is
  Lecania erysibe - there is a closer version of this below:

Lecania erysibe

Thallus covered with blastidia which resemble minute granules but are formed in short sparsely branched chains forming a lyer typically 2 to 3 deep. and are green in well lit situaltions. Apothecia .3-.4mm diam with brown slightly conves discs and densley blastidiate margins.  A blastidium is a globular propagule, containing mycobiont  and photobiont, always produced by "budding" and frequently formed in series of two or more, with each new blastidium produced from the tip of the previous one. common on calcareous and nutrient enriched substrates in UK and lots in N and S England and in urban situations.

Lepraria vouauxii

Lepraria vouauxii
This is supposed to have a thick puckered edge consisiting of powdery granules up to 0.5mm across, often eroded and showing white medulla. See the tiny snail!
It is frequent in lowland Britain on mortar rocks and ash trees.
It goes orange when bleach is applied.

Lecidella stigmatea -seen closer below

Lecidella stigmatea - zoomed in.
The thallus is areolate or cracked
It is common on calcareous rocks.

Acrodordia salweyi  growing on the limestone. The fruiting bodies are like semicircular domes, (whereas Acrocordia conidea has cone shaped domes, and a pinker thallus)

After this I went down into the Grotto.

There is a brick frames (which you cannot see) covered outside with the limestone and inside with crystals.

It was dark inside, except where daylight was allowed to stream through.  Bu when a photograph is taken the gypsum and other crystals reflect the light.


There were two guides inside who told us about the history..
I listened awhile. Apparently Charles Hamilton ran out of money for building the grott. It was renovated and rebuilt just a few years ago.

.... Click here to find out about  the afternoon lichen walk later..

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Pictures of walk at Hellifield Flashes on 19 Jan with FOD

Friends of the Dales  (FOD, formerly Yorkshire Dales Society) organised a walk round Hellifield Flashes. 

These are three large fields which include three ponds that rise and fall according to the water level, and where many waders and other birds stop over. 

Developers have applied to Craven District Council to build holiday cabins/chalets and a hotel over these fields and  aoome of the pools. This would stop birds coming. Most villagers in the area do not want this.

The flashes lie  between Hellifield Railway station and the road to Long Preston. We were joined / led on our walk by Roger of Save our Craven Countryside
Sixty  people set off on our walk.. go under the railway ahead, then turn right into a field.

We cross the first large field diagonally and stop at the fence, and look over to this small flash. Today it is  mostly covered with ice - it was cold last night.

We climb over the stile (some go through the gate). Towards the road we enter the fenced of area that was  planted with trees about 12 years ago.

The trees were planted very densely.   The trees may act as a sound screen to the road. But if the trees (some of them oak) are to grow into big fine trees, they are planted far too densely.  We notice the plastic tree guards lying around. Why have they not been removed? 


I enjoy looking at the hazel flowers - the yellow lambs tails are the male flowers and they make pollen. Just above the centre of the picture is a female bud with its red stigmas - I have put a close up below.
but Hazel is supposed to flower in February - and today is just 19th January - This is an example of the effect of global warming/climate change


Female Hazel flower

We briefly hit the A65. then turn right along the side road. There is a turning place with a view of the flash where cars sometimes park. Sadly we see the result of human visitors:

We continue past the new house. Beyond that is an area where mounds were illegally dug in a field before locals alerted the Council. 


On many of the millstone grit walls round here - even on the tops of hills away from the roads and farms -  you can see a velvetty green alga called Klebsormidium crenulatum - It is an indication that nitrogen compounds in the air  (nitrogen oxide or ammonia) are rained down onto the wall and act like fertilizer, allowing the alga to grow, and covering lichens that would grow here. Pollution: We have less sulphur dioxide in Yorkshire than we used to have 50 years ago, but much more nitrogen pollution. 

We continue past the new house. Beyond that is an area where mounds were illegally dug in a field before locals alerted the Council. 

We come to a new footpath.

Using the microphone to ask about the trees, and high density of tree planting.

Yes, Hellifield has its own snow-capped mountain peak - Hellifield Haw

We bend down back towards the village. We are currently in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The railway-line marks the boundary of the YDNP here.

Back in the village the FOD encourages members to use local facilities for lunch: I choose HazyDayz Tearoom 

There is just time for me to visit Ahern's Clothing shop where I discover a long sleeved t-shirt in the sale with blue sky and red poppies - which I later buy

In the afternoon we return to the Village Hall for a showing of the Film "Streams of Wonder" made by the Moonbeam Collective. John Avison was there to answer questions.

I enjoyed the film - He had copies for sale on DVD, but sold out. You can buy copies at Dales Angels shop (on the east, uphill/behind the Shambles side of the Market Place, Settle

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Jasmin, Eugeni and Eoin at Horton - Montane Spine Race 2019

The three leaders in this 268 mile race reach Horton in Ribblesdale at 8.12 am Monday - just 24 hours 12 minutes and c 95 miles from the start at 8am on Sun 13 Jan at Edale.

When I went to bed on Sunday night (12.30am) - the three leaders had just passed East Marton, at the Leeds Liverpool Canal heading for Gargrave... and this was just their first day!

Early on Monday I drove to Horton for 8am.. and lo, as dawn broke the three of them came down the Pennine Way Footpath and entered Horton.  (c. 95 miles!!!)
See  and


(By Tuesday morning 15 Jan,, just past 8am. (i.e 48 hours from the start) - "I see Eugeni is at Dufton - and Jasmin is (according to the marker) almost at Dufton.. So they did High Cup Nick in the dark!. Eoin must have had a good sleep at Middleton - he has yet to reach High Cup Nick.")
And by Tuesday evening at 10pm.. Jasmin is at Hadrian's Wall near Once Brewed.. and she is accelerating from Eugeni. with about 45 miles to go.

Anyway back to Monday After videoing the three "stars" I enjoyed a bowl of bean and vegetable stew, (though the sausage and eggs looked tempting too)

and chatted to the Pen y Ghent Cafe staff, medics, cave rescue team on duty (also Settle Tai Chi instructors) and photographed a Spine Race Challenger competitor.


At lunch time I attended the funeral at Kirkby Malham of a friend of mine, Hannah Pullan (aged 96). I enjoyed meeting her relatives.. and as I ate lunch in Kirkby Malham Village Hall, I thought of the Spine walkers who would be walking up by the river Aire, a quarter of a mile from the Hall.

Afterwards I drove up and parked at the south end of Malham Tarn. I walked down to Water-Sinks - after the heavy rain yesterday, the water was sinking in the correct place.. Here I met Spine Race Competitors, some in pairs, some individuals.
 I accompanied them a little way towards the Tarn and gave them a mini geology talk about the area and how the Malham Tarn Estate S(SSSI, Natinal Nature Reserve)  has had about 390 species of higher plant (wild flowers etc) recorded from it. I suspect most were more interested in the cup of tea and sit down they might get at the Centre.

So I started asking them where they came from, etc..  Japan won the record for distance. He told me he was still suffering from jet- lag, having only just arrived in the country.

Competitor number 216  was the Invertebrate Curator at Cambridge University - and works with Henry Disney, of Diptera fame . Henry used to be the Director of Studies at Malham Tarn when I worked there long ago. We were both delighted to make contact. As we walked along the shore I told him about  a special Caddis-fly - Agrypnetes crassicornis - which lives in Malham Tarn - and no-where else in the UK. I picked up a heap of Canadian Pondweed that had blown onto the shore .. Yes the walkers would agree it had been windy yesterday. 

Pricking a blister

It was getting dark as I headed back to my car.. and I had no torch

Meanwhile I will just do a little more dot watching, watch some of the stunning videos of the route, then and then go to bed

Monday 7 January 2019

#LichenJanuary at Ingleton, N Yorks

My friend Doris goes on a 3 mile walk most days - (well , when she's not doing something else) and invited me to join her on 4 January. But #LichenJanuary meant we had to stop and look at lichens -so the treck reduced itself to half a mile (and half a mile back).

First stop - the tarmac pavement outside the house and garden: Lecanora muralis  (Chewing Gum Lichen)  - - the edge of the thallus is foliose

The lane  headed south from the village in the direction of Bentham. We are just south of the South Craven Fault, and the glaciers left lots of rocks here. The stones in the wall are mostly sandstones from the Yoredale  Series. There are occasional lumps of slate, and whiter, rounded lumps of  limestone.

This lichen has an English name: Crabs-eye  Ochrolechia parella

Top left: Lecanora soralifera with powder patches (soralia) on the areoles (islands of thallus)
The grey lichen on the bottom right with black apothecia flush with the crust and areoles and black orothallus looks familiar.....

Acarospora fuscata - made of areoles (islands) which are sunken in their middles and higher at their edges. 

This is yellow green like Rhizocarpon geographicum - but I can't see the areoles that it should have.

Using a lens to look at details

This is a close up of what could be Lecanora gangaleoides. I need to scratch off some of the apothecia and crsut surface and see if the  lower medulla in the thallus is scarlety-orangy.

(on the other hand it could be Tephromela atra  -though that is whiter, and a section through an apothecium would reveal a purple layer in the apothecium

Acid rock - has the ubiquitous alga Klebsormidum crenulatum

Cladonia pocilum  I am guessing the wall is more basic here - it is next to moss Homalothecium sericeum which likes more basic conditions

Solenopsora candicans  - on limestone - This has a thick thallus and a bright white colour. The black apothecia have a pruinose surface.
Solenopsora candicans again, and Verrucaria baldensis?  with tiny sunken fruit bodies

Dermatocarpon miniatum - this nomally growns on vertical surfaces of shdy cliffs. Here is was growing flat on top of a newly placed capstone - so the lichen must have been growing on the rock before the rock was put on the wall.

Acrocordia conoidea on a limestone stone

Further along the road I realised that all the rocks in the wall here are limestone.. because the capstones were covered with
Ass Pee Sillier -- Aspicilia calcarea  This lichen likes the light and problalby the bird droppings too.

Skipping back a little way.. there was a walled side track, that was shaded by tall Leylandia trees, and in summer by nettles. On the shady vertical acid rock surfaces here was lots of orange- brown mottled Opegrapha gyrocarpa -see below

A primrose in the verge - and it is only 4 January

Growing in the mortar on a wall which I think had been recently cleared of ivy was this lichen... still waiting for a name
....... space for name ......

I hope you enjoyed your trip round with us.

Happy New Year and Happy #LichenJanuary