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Images of British Lichens

Cladonia furcata (Huds.) Schrad.
subsp. furcata

A variable species, with podetia grey-green to brown, branching ± dichotomously, forming loose, tufted to ± procumbent mats, finer branches generally erect, sharply pointed, cups never formed, podetial surface lacking soredia and usually with very few or no squamules, but with small, green areolar patches that may be set in the cortex surface or else raised to give a slightly granular appearance, podetia becoming deeper brown, smooth and glossy with age and exposure; pycnidia small, brown, on the branch tips, apothecia brown, in expanded clusters at the tips of podetia. In heathland, heathy turf, amongst rocks and on dunes, widespread and common, but easily overlooked amongst other Cladonia species.

Care is sometimes needed to separate C. furcata from the related C. rangiformis, but that species forms more richly branched, whitish-grey, erect tufts and has more conspicuous green areolar patches on the podetia. The two species often grow in close proximity on dunes, when the differences become readily apparent.
C. furcata subsp. subrangiformis is a taxon of uncertain taxonomic status and nomenclaturally invalid at infraspecific level, described as more robust, browner and more prostrate, sparingly branched with lateral spinules, and with diagnostic, white nodules of calcium oxalate near the bases of the podetia. It is rare and probably declining on chalk hills in southern England, doubtful and perhaps mostly erroneously recorded elsewhere, but is interpreted more broadly by some authors. It is recognised at specific level in Stenroos et al. (2011) and by Stenroos & Ahti in Nordic Lichen Flora (2013).

Refs: Smith et al. (2009), 328; Purvis et al. (1992), 208; Nordic Lichen Flora (2013) 5: 42, 99 (photo); Dobson (2005), 138-9 (photo); Dobson (2011), 146 (photo); Britton (2008) 28 (photo); Allen (2007), 21 (photo); Whelan (2011), 74 (photo); van Herk & Aptroot (2004, 2013), 142-143 (photo); Aptroot et al. (2011), 76-7 (photos); Wirth (1995), 1: 308, 326 (photo, with apothecia); Wirth et al. (2004), 78 (photo); Holien & Tønsberg (2008), 88 (photo, unusually squamulose variant); Stenroos et al. (2011) 138-9 (photo); Valcárcel et al. (2003), 160-1 (photo); Brodo et al. (2001), 255-256 (photos); Hinds & Hinds (2007), 184 (photo); Thomson (1967) 118-120, plate 16 (photo); Lichen Atlas of the British Isles 2: 389 (1996).


Cladonia furcata
In heathy turf, Dartmoor, Devon, August 2008
Cladonia furcata, with apothecia
Material with apothecia, in dune heath, Findhorn, Morayshire, April 2009
Cladonia furcata
In dune heath, White Ness, Nairnshire, July 2008
Cladonia furcata
In sandy Breckland heathland, Thetford, Norfolk, April 2010

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© A.J. Silverside
Uploaded July 2010, updated January 2016