Friday 31 December 2021

Lichens of Great How with the Cumbria Lichens and Bryophytes group

 Great How is an oak wood at the north end of Thirlmere. It is also a steep hill on all sides and must once have been an island in the glacier. It reaches 390m in height, The reservoir high water level at its foot  is about 180m. The rocks are acid. 

On Sat 18 December 2021 I met the group at 9.30. I had left Settle in fog, but the sky soon cleared. We were deep in the valley but it was obvious the sun would shine once it could get over the mountain tops. We listened to the safety talk about not falling into Thirlmere, and set off.

A big thank you to Pete Martin, Caz Walker and Chris Cant for leading the lichens group.

DO tell me if I have misidentified anything.

Peltigera praetextata in the frost

The Moss people spent a long time at this damp bank right at the beginning

Baeomyces always enchants.

I was told this was B rufus - but why is it not Dibaeis baeomyces? 
Guide des Lichens de France says of the apothecia
 Dibaeis baeomyces  - "en turban"  (and pink) - like a round turban
B rufus - "en berét" (reddish to light brown) like a flat beret

A handrail prevents us falling into the reservoir

In a vertical sheltered exposure in the cliff on the left we see Lepraria membranacea - the thallus is membranous and strongly delimited. The tips of the lobes curl up a little. It grows on shaded, vertical acid rocks, and also on mosses and shaded deciduous trees.

 On the same sheltered vertical face is  Opegrapha  (formerly Enterographa) zonata - a new lichen for me. It  has lilac punctiform soralia. It likes acid rock
(It looks a little bit like Opegrapha gyrocarpa, but that is much orangyer with light yellow to orange soralia)

Opegrapha zonata seen closer

A large earthball

pleasing fence posts

I just love the pattern


I hope one of the bryologists will confirm that the liverwort with the brown dots is Scapania nemorea

The brown dots are gemmae (A budlike mass of undifferentiated tissue which serves as a means of vegetative reproduction among mosses and liverworts. ) . Both leaf lobes are broadly rounded, and usually edged with long, marginal teeth

In the upper surface of the lower rail of the fence is this lichen which I think is Trapeliopsis flexuoxa


Pertusaria hymenea

I finally get down to the shoreline

Looking across Thirlmere to Raven Crag

A moss on one of the boulders at the shore

The Bryologists catch up with us for Lunch.  Shortly after this we the Lichens people take the "direct route" straight up the hill - Whilst the bryologists follow the gentle sloping path and overtake us.

A moth

What is this foliose lichen? Look closer.. (When it dries this lichen is grey)

It is Cetrelia olivetorum - This is a new plant for me.  Its nice and BIG - a bit like Platismatia-glauca - but look carefully and you see small scattered white dot-like pseudocyphellae. The margin of some of the thallus is covered in soralia   The whole thallus covered a big area on the trunk

"The centre of the underside of the Cetrelia olivetorum has simple rhizinae and is black, becoming brown or smooth towards the lobe tips". This sentence is cribbed straight from Dobson. -Seventh revised Edition. Frank Dobson died last week - British Lichenologists owe him so much!!!! RIP and Thank you Frank.

Pachyphiale carneola - the red apothecia are tiny up to 0.5 mm across. They look like tiny red wine gums

Examining the Pachyphiale carneola


Perhaps Arthonia spadicia or A vinosa?

The bryophyte people reached the summit and then walked down to where we were. See the sunlight is retreating up the hill

Oh look!!

I am still thinking about this one - above and below - that was growing in a soil bank

Here is some Bryoria fuscescens - on a fallen tree - that the leaders had found earlier on a previous trip and took us to see.

Finally two red lichens to bring Christmas Cheer.

Mycoblastus sanguinius When a black apothecium is knocked of a red mark is left behind

Cladonia floerkeana  on a very old wood pile

Do visit the Cumbria Lichens and Bryophytes Website.

The group welcomes new people including beginners. I would have missed many of these lichens if I had not had the others there to point them out! Oak woodland is an important habitat for lichens.

I saw six new "Lifers" for me.  When the group sent me the species list of 68 lichens for the day there were actually another half dozen on the list that I missed that I have not seen!

Ah well, another day. The Lake District is such a good area for Lichens.

Saturday 11 December 2021

SD86 - 25 - SD8265a - Langcliffe North - Ramalina fraxinea

Ramalina fraxinea (centre)
and top left, with cup shaped apothecia at the tips of the plant: 
Ramalina fastigiata

This photo is taken 100m above the first cattle grid and new barn on the road up Langcliffe Brow and into the sunset.
You can see the Ramalina fraxinea bottom left of the picture
and the new barn at the cattle grid top left at 3.30pm  on 10 December (See note at end about sunset times)


Having parked in Langcliffe village carpark in  this short day of 10 December to deliver a newsletter to Langcliffe resident Josie , I decide to make good use of the sunlight at 1.30pm in to get exercise.

I walk up the road at the foot of Langcliffe Brow.
After two hours I have  I have progressed 1/8 of a mile -  500m -to my final find as the sun is setting - Ramalina fraxinea. at 3.30. at the first corner above the cattle grid. 
My performance at Settle Harriers winter handicap in three weeks time is not going to be too good!.

Ramalina fraxinea was once thought of as rare in England but it is increasing in abundance. This plant (and I later find another small one on the same bough) is growing on a bough of an ash tree fallen on the ground (probably moved from the road), blown down in storm Arwen

This now the 4th 1km square I have found Ramalina fraxinea in  out of 29 surveyed in SD86 - and I have found it in two 1km squares adjacent to SD86.

If you find a specimen in 
SD86 do let me know.

The grey thallus is made of belt shaped straps -- in this picture up to 7 cm long and over 1 cm wide - though it can grow to three times this size.  They are attached to the branch at one point. I have usually found it on solitary big windswept hawthorns, but in this case it was growing on its name-sake- Ash.

Next to it you can see a smaller Ramalina - Also grey, strap shaped thallus but the apothecia - cup shaped reproductive bodies are at the tips of the thallus.  Ramalina fastigiata
elsewhere on the branch was a Ramalina farinacea.  but no sign of Evernia prunastri.

My journey stars at the  lowest  Horse Chestnut  trunk at Langcliffe  carpark.
Heavy rain the previous day followed by frost overnight means that the lichens on the trunk are still saturated with water and look very different from when they are dry. Then we they are greener and more swollen.
They look as different as juvenile birds look from adults. 

It is hard!  Grrrr!
 But it also means I notice species I may have missed before.

Lecanora expallens  is a grey crust  with greyish powdery soredia over the thallus except at the edges. It is normally nondescript and camouflaged - but today the soredia were bright pale lemon:

Lecanora expallens

I also notice a  green in the wet foliose lichen that is very frilly.  
O think it is Melanohalia  laciniatula (brown when dry) - which I found last year on a tree about 100m away - uphill and to the south of Langcliffe Church, and on another  a cherry tree in the churhyard 20 m away iin August). I have only found this in about two other places in SD86 too.

In fact I wonder if the plant I have found here is a very new one on this trunk - It is another species which may be spreading.

There is some Phlyctis argena - I noticed that on the Lime on the other side of the road in summer.

Phlyctis argena

Finally a view of the hors chestnut trunk itself
  before setting off up the hill.

I start off up the hill.
See the new barn and cattle grid in the distance

After a while 20 m or so I stop and look at the wall top under the tree and look down to the village. The white lichen is  called Aspicilia calcarea (new name:  Circinea calcarea) 

On top of the wall, with some shade from the tree there are mosses and Black Jelly-lichens - of at least three species. this one is Leptogium gelatinosum  (The first time I have recorded it - but not the first time I have found it I am sure - It's just that today I made an effort to name it... Great that brings my total score of species in SD86 to about 159)

THe bigger lobes in the centre may be a different species

On an acid (sandstone) rock, amongst the limestone rocks, in the wall, is what could be a Lecanora campestris. Its jam tart like fruiting bodies point to Lecanora  (I awate comments that it might be another sp of Lecanora)

Lecanora campestris

 Galerina toadstools grows amongst the mosses on the wall top.

Time to move on. Look up the hill. Next stopping point in 200m: the cattle grid, new barn, and I notice, for the first time, the old barn.

In another acid stone in the wall there is "Cigarette ash lichen" - Porpidia tuberculosa. The edge of the thallus has a black rim called the prothallus. This part is made of fungal material only and has no algae in it.


Next some pretty pictures as the sun gets lower, but is now shining 
almost perpendicular 
to vertical surfaces around me.

View across the Ribble valley to the hills and valley above Stackhouse 

Fossil in rock in old barn

Clauzadea monticola - probably

A gilled fungus - too high up the tree to get a specimen

Time to go home!

Explanation of why the sunset on 10 Dec 3:48:47 pm
and 14 Dec at 3:48:27 pm - Earliest Sunset - and today 17th at3:48:53 pm - snd Solstice 21 Dec at
(Note to Judith - My Olympus camera was still set at BST on this day - so I have translated the times so that the times in ths blog are GMT).
Note at Langcliffe at this time of year we are 4min 50 seconds timewise "behind Greenwich - or   and -2.274020 units of longitude behind Greenwich - All of Yorkshire is west of Greenwich - 

I had had 17 species entered for SD 8265. I have now brought the total of lichens in this monad to over 32. It is the 29th 1km square (monad) that have recorded  out of the 100 squares in hectad SD86.  One more monad to go before 31 Dec, to keep up my aim of recording 10 monads a year.  (Actually March 2019 was my starting point).  with the Leptogium gelatinosum, my total species score for SD86 is 159.