Wednesday 20 January 2021

SD86 - 13 - SD8163a - Settle - Melanohalia exasperatula - and at Langcliffe and Giggleswick - M laciniatula

Melanohalea exasperatula

There are several brown Parmelioid lichens which grow on trees - (i.e. brown, not grey, foliose lichens with quite a big flattish thallus). The common ones can be split into two genera:  Melanelixia and Malanohalea.

They both used to be called genus Melanelia  Then they were split off from Malanelia.

 The two common ones are Melanelixia glabratula and Melanelixia fuliginosa. Melanelixias  have a dark undersurface to the thallus to the thallus and  if  C (bleach) is applied to the upper part of the medulla, it will go red fleetingly (i.e. cut the surface of the thallus to see the white just under the surface and add bleach). This is because they contain lecanoric acid.

The second group are the Melanohaleas. These do not have the pigment lecanoric acid, so the medulla does not go red with bleach. The undersurface of the thallus is pale brown. The genus name is a mixture Melanelia (meaning black) and Hale from Martin Hale who carried out research on them. 

Melanohalea exasperatula has a thallus to 5 cm diameter lobes to 5mm wide with incised margins, margins only loosely attached to the substratum. Undersurface pale brown. Isidia mainly simple, larger, often randomly decurrent, hollow, shaped like the bowl of a spoon

Melanohalea exasperatula

Melanohalea exasperatula

This one was growing on a garden seat - with plastic weave - in Settle in a garden close to the Water Tower House at Settle Station. (August 2020)


The Melanohalea exasperatula seat

The Melanohalea exasperatula was growing with more common things such as  Xanthoria parietina and Physcia tenella 

Another view of Melanohalea exasperatula

Last month (Christmas Eve 2021 lunchtime) I explored the field 
SD82366500  just east of Langcliffe Church and found some more of what I thought at the time was M exasperatula.  But now I think it is M laciniatula.
the lobes are very frilly
There are no isidia (at least not ordinary sticking up like pegs/fingers ones)

Melanohalea laciniatula 


Last 24 April 2020 on a Lockdown walk I visited the tree in the carpark below Giggleswick School on the corner of Church Street and Raines Road.  SD81016400
It definitely had Melanohalia laciniatula.
It had other lichens too.

Melanohalia laciniatula

Melanohalia laciniatula -magnified

Melanohalia laciniatula

These two were on the tree too:

Still working on this..

The lichens here might be:
Physcia tenella
Phaeophyscia orbicualris
(young) - towards top left
Candelariella reflexa

There is a record before of M laciniatula for our hectad, but not of M exasperatula

Saturday 16 January 2021

Settle Wildflowers Day 102: Langcliffe Churchyard Lichens and Wildflowers on Christmas Eve - SD86 - 35

 24th December was a sunny day.

I enjoyed a walk round the churchyard just after lunchtime, looking closely at the lichens in the sun.

Lichen: Aspicilia contorta

 Black jelly lichen either Collema auriforme or Collema fuscovirens

Some species of Spurge (Euphorbia) 

Silky Wall Feather-moss - Homalothecium sericeum

Striking shadow. Come back in two months and see the foreground filled with snowdrops.

Ivy and Hydrangea


Melanohalea laciniatula on branch in tree in field to east of churchyard maybe SD82366500 or SD82366499

Feverfew -   Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew -   Tanacetum parthenium

Heuchera species

Heuchera species

Welsh Poppies


Lichen: Lecanora albescens

err- need to name this.In tree outside but next to the churchyard wall on the north side.

Lichen on trunk: Phaeophyscia-orbicularis


Late blooming Rose - remember it's 24 December!

Intermediate  Screw-moss. Syntrichia montana (intermedia)

I'd really like to know the name of this

Settle Wildflowers - Day 101: New Year Day Plant Hunt 1 Jan 2021 - 42 species!

Wall Lettuce - on Castleberg-with splendid view of Settle

The BSBI (Botanical Society of the British Isles) organised their New Year Plant Hunt to be taken as a 3 hour walk on any of the first four days of January  this year. You can see the results here

On 1st January  I started the plant hunt at 1.45 pm - rather late!! - but it looked the sunniest of the four available days, parking on Church Street. The last 3/4 hour of my walk was by streetlight and torchlight!- But I knew where I was going for some of the plants at the end of the walk.

I recorded 42 plants 

Last year-Jan 2020 I recorded 34. I also did a walk with Doris at Ingleton last year.

In Jan 2019 we found 29

In 2018 we found 22

In 2017 we found 24

In 2015  we found 19

The increase in species is not due to global warming.
It is rather that for the first four years or so I stuck to the same path.
Then competition fever struck. I ticked off the regular haunts and species quickly and then explored new places.

This last year having carried out my Settle Wildflower Lockdown Walks I had visited many extra places, especially in the few weeks preceding Christmas 

But does my longer score make me happier? 


I just start thinking "Why did I miss Procumbent Pearlwort (perhaps because it was dark..)"

"What a shame the beautiful blue Borage I had seen ten days earlier is now a black mass of goo aftter the three frosty days we had,  and no longer countable!" 

"Pity that the Red Valerian and Sticky Groundsel and Common Mouse-ear that I regularly score are no longer to be seen this year."

(Other plants I have counted in previous years include Ladies Mantle, French Crane's-bill, Soft Brome.)..

 So had these all survived in the right places that score could come to 50!
But they didn't.

A viewing of the NYPH results show that virtually all the hunts with the longest  lists in the top 25 come from the south of England or the midlands/Wales and further south. the one laudable exception being the Silverlink list from Tynemouth - 63 -

For comparison I went on a walk in the countryside at Windskill Stones Nature Reserve and found no plants in flower (As did a friend who leves near Selside)

Back to Settle Wildflowers 

Here are some pictures of some of my finds.

Several of my new plants came from a visit to the flagpole on Castleberg

(You can compare them with pictures I took in June 2018)

Leafy Hawkweed: - Hieracium sp

Wall Lettuce - on Castleberg-with splendid view of Settle

 Yellow Oat-grass  Trisetum flavescens
 on Castleberg

Wood Aven - on Castleberg

Wall-flower - besisde grade 6 and 7 climbing routes on Castleberg

Nipplewort - somewhere near Settle Coal Yard

Goat Willow - in Ashfield Car Park

Dame's Violet - Cammock Lane-Station Road Allotments

This was the Borage- but I did not count it.

Daisy - we are next to ARLA now on the Industrial Estate

A brief foray over Queens Rock Bridge into Giggleswick to tick of Hazel

Rat's-tail Fescue - Vulpia myuros

Pineapple-weed Matricaria discoidea